The Consumer Price Index increased 0.6% in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.0% before seasonal adjustment.
For the second month in a row, the substantial increase in the all items index was mostly the result of an increase in the gasoline index, which rose 7.0% in September after increasing 9.0% in August. The other major energy indexes increased in September as well.
The food index increased 0.1% in September; the index for food at home was unchanged as major grocery store food indexes continue to be mixed.
Among major grocery store food groups, the largest increase in September was in the index for nonalcoholic beverages, which rose 0.9% in September after declining in July and August. The indexes for dairy and related products and for other food at home also rose in September.
The largest decline was for the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which fell 0.6% after rising in each of the three previous months. Also declining was the index for fruits and vegetables, which fell 0.4% as the fresh fruits index declined 0.9%. The index for cereals and bakery products fell 0.1%. The index for food at home has risen 0.8% over the last 12 months, the smallest figure since August 2010. The index for food away from home increased 0.2% in September and has risen 2.8% over the last 12 months.
The energy index rose 4.5% in September after a 5.6% increase in August. The gasoline index increased 7.0% in September, its third straight increase. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices increased 4.1% in September.)
Other energy indexes had increases similar to August: The fuel oil index increased 4.1% in September after rising 4.6% in August; the index for natural gas rose 2.0% in September following a 2.8% August increase; and the electricity index repeated its August increase of 0.2%.
Over the last 12 months, the energy index has risen 2.3% (the August 12-month change was a 0.6% decline). The gasoline index has risen 6.8% over the last 12 months, and the index for fuel oil has increased 4.0%. In contrast, the index for natural gas has fallen 10.7% and the electricity index has declined 1.5%.
Concern about rising food prices escalated along with the worsening drought this summer. In August, the USDA Economic Research Service estimated food price inflation to hit consumers in 2013.