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Inflation eases very little to start 2023 as the price of shelter spikes

Consumer Prices
Posted at 7:48 AM, Feb 14, 2023

Following a year of persistent high inflation, the consumer price index for January 2023indicated that inflation eased only slightly to start the year.

According to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 12-month inflation rate dropped by .1% to 6.4%. For the month of January itself, the consumer price index, the top indicator of inflation in the U.S., rose by .5%.

The consumer price index weighs the costs of goods based on their importance. Items like food, shelter and energy tend to be weighed more.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that increasing shelter prices was the biggest culprit to January’s price increases. The price of shelter in the U.S. is up 7.9% in the last year, according to the government’s data.

Inflation has also been particularly high for food items. Food costs have increased 10.1% in the 12-month period ending in January. In January alone, food costs rose by .7%.

Energy costs also are 8.7% higher than a year ago after a 3.1% increase in January.

While essentials have gone up, commodities such as apparel, electronics and appliances have not seen quite the price jumps. These types of items have gone up by 1.4% in the last year.

The new data also indicate wages have failed to keep up with inflation as hourly wages have increased 4.4% in the last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said both rising wages and inflation will cause the Fed to continue raising interest rates. Powell said the Fed’s goal is to get inflation to an annual increase of 2% yearly.