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Consumer Prices Rise Most in 14 Months

In August, inflation made its biggest monthly jump since January, according to Department of Labor data cited by CNBC.

What’s going on: “The consumer price index, which measures costs across a broad variety of goods and services, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6% for the month, and was up 3.7% from a year ago. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were looking for respective increases of 0.6% and 3.6%.”

  • Excluding food and energy prices—which can be highly volatile from month to month—core CPI rose a more moderate 0.3%.
  • The Federal Reserve focuses more on core CPI, which offers a better long-term look at inflation’s direction.

The details: Energy prices accounted for most of the rise, increasing 5.6% on the month (including a 10.6% rise in gasoline prices).

  • Food costs increased 0.2%, while shelter—which constitutes approximately one-third of the CPI weighting—rose 0.3%.

Impact on workers: “The jump in headline inflation hit worker paychecks. Real average hourly earnings declined 0.5% for the month, though they were still up 0.5% from a year ago, the Labor Department said in a separate release.”

What it means: The August CPI report “won’t change the Fed’s apparent decision to skip a rate hike at its meeting on Sept. 19–20,” but it may mean there is potential for another rate increase in the next few months, MarketWatch reports.

  • Over the past 17 months, in an effort to combat inflation, the central bank has increased its benchmark borrowing rate by 5.25 percentage points.
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