The cost of living in the US increased slightly in August, but prices were cheaper compared to 12 months ago, a new report released Wednesday by the Labor Department reveals.
Annual US inflation dropped 1.5 percent after a 2.1% decline in the 12 months ending in July. The decrease was largely due to lower gasoline costs as compared to the spiked prices from last summer.
When volatile food and energy prices were excluded, the 12-month core rate increased 1.4 percent — still, it is the smallest year-over-year gain since February 2004
The Consumer Price Index, which is the government’s most closely watched barometer for measuring inflation at the consumer level, climbed 0.4% in August. The rate increase was driven by a 9.1 percent surge in gasoline prices.
"Oil is becoming the bane of our existence again, but other cost pressures remain reasonably well restrained," Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors was noted on Forbes.com.
Core consumer prices rose 0.1 percent last month.
Gold is often purchased as a hedge against inflation. There was little in the latest government report to show signs of inflation rearing its ugly head, however, at least for now. Still, inflation is on the minds of more than one investor.
"The inflation story has got people very concerned," Bernard Sin, the head of currency and metals trading at bullion refiner MKS Finance SA in Geneva, was quoted on Bloomberg. "People are trying to move dollars into commodities, especially gold. The market is really concerned about the behavior of the dollar."
New York gold futures for December delivery on Wednesday rose $13.90, or 1.4 percent, to $1,020.20 an ounce.
Consumer price figures in August
Several interesting price figures for August follow:
- Medical care rose 0.3% after a 0.2% increase in July
- Energy prices climbed 4.6% after a 0.4% decline in July
- Used car and truck prices rose 1.9% following an unchanged reading in July
- New vehicles prices declined 1.3% after a 0.5% increase in July
- Prices for fruits and vegetables fell 0.7% following a 0.3% decline in July
- Dairy and related products dropped 0.4%, its ninth consecutive decline
US Inflation Calculator Updated
Using the most recent Consumer Price Index data, the CoinNews Inflation Calculator shows how consumer prices have changed over the years. By entering any two dates from 1913-2009 and then a dollar amount, the calculator measures the buying power of the dollar over time. Inflation over the years can be seen with these few calculator examples:
- An item purchased in 1913 for $1 would now cost $21.80 (5 cents more as compared to July)
- An item purchased in 1950 for $10 would now cost $89.56 (20 cents more as compared to July)
- An item purchased for $20 in 1985 would now cost $40.12 (9 cents more as compared to July)
Mixed dates may also be used with the Inflation Calculator. As examples:
- An item purchased today for $500 would have cost $124.63 in 1975
- An item purchased for $1000 in 1980 would have cost $1,586.17 in 1990
Of course, not all "goods and services" rise or fall in tandem with inflation rates. For example, many computers when adjusted for inflation are actually less expensive today (and do more) compared to years ago.
Latest Charts on Inflation Rates
The CoinNews inflation page also includes two updated charts indicating the:
- Annual Averages for Rate of Inflation
- Annual Percent Changes for Rate of Inflation or Inflation Rates
While the Inflation Calculator is more of a general financial interest tool, specific numismatic calculators and tools may be found via the CoinNews menu: "COIN PRICING & COLLECTOR TOOLS".
The CoinNews sister site with a similar US Inflation Calculator offers additional information on consumer prices and inflation rates.