The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.3 percent in January. This increase offset another decline in the gasoline index and resulted in the seasonally adjusted all items index being unchanged, as it was last month. Increases in the indexes for shelter and apparel accounted for much of the increase in the index for all items less food and energy, with advances in the indexes for recreation, medical care, and airline fares also contributing.
That woud be a 3.66% annualized increase in core, which ought to perk up your ears.
Let's have a look inside at annualized increases, as we did with the PPI.
The first thing that stands out is that the "target" is "achieved" at a 1.9% core rate annualized. But....
Shelter, particularly rent, is up closer to 3% while hospital services are up 4.7% and transportation is also up 3%, with insurance up nearly 5%. The latter is a big perverse effect of QE, in that insurance companies make a fair bit of their money off fixed-income investments. That's dead, of course.
If you like to eat, eat lamb. It's down 15% on the year.
Don't eat apples. They're up 11%. Fruits in general are up 4.6%, and vegetables 3.4%.
Electronics continued their dive, with TVs off 17% on the year. Americanus Boobus has his idiot box for another year at an ever-lower price.
Don't go to college unless you want a textbook shoved up your butt. Their price is up 8% on the year, and the best part of it is that your professor is probably getting a piece of it. That smile on his face? It's because he's assaulting you coming and going.
Computers continue their inexorable decline, as do other consumer information items (e.g. cell phones, tablets, etc.) Bye-bye margins.
And don't start this crap about how "health costs" have "leveled out." The hell they have. Health insurance is up 8.6% annualized, damned close to the 9% escalation that has been maintained historically over the last 30 years. If you believe that it comprises only 0.658% of the total amount of money you spend as a consumer, which is what the government claims, then you're dumber than a box of rocks.
Can't afford a car and need to ride the bus? That's up considerably more than the so-called "inflation index." Oh, and that's a laugable 0.264% of your budget too. Really, for those who actually use it?
Those are the lowlights -- enjoy.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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