Consumer Price Index: Inflation Rises to 3.7% in August

Headline inflation rose for a second straight month in August while core inflation continued to cool. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the headline figure for the Consumer Price Index increased to 3.7% year-over-year from 3.2% in July. The latest reading is slightly higher than the expected 3.6% annual increase. The core CPI reading was consistent with expectations at 4.3%, a slow down from 4.7% in July.

Here is the introduction from the BLS summary, which leads with the seasonally adjusted monthly data:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.6 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.2 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The index for gasoline was the largest contributor to the monthly all items increase, accounting for over half of the increase. Also contributing to the August monthly increase was continued advancement in the shelter index, which rose for the 40th consecutive month. The energy index rose 5.6 percent in August as all the major energy component indexes increased. The food index increased 0.2 percent in August, as it did in July. The index for food at home increased 0.2 percent over the month while the index for food away from home rose 0.3 percent in August.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in August, following a 0.2-percent increase in July. Indexes which increased in August include rent, owners' equivalent rent, motor vehicle insurance, medical care, and personal care. The indexes for lodging away from home, used cars and trucks, and recreation were among those that decreased over the month.

The all items index increased 3.7 percent for the 12 months ending August, a larger increase than the 3.2-percent increase for the 12 months ending in July. The all items less food and energy index rose 4.3 percent over the last 12 months. The energy index decreased 3.6 percent for the 12 months ending August, and the food index increased 4.3 percent over the last year.

Compared to last month, headline prices increased 0.6% while core prices increased 0.3% on a seasonally-adjusted basis, respectively. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, headline and core prices rose 0.4 and 0.2%, respectively.