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Entries in Consumer Prices (6)

Friday
Mar162012

Higher Gas Prices Drove Consumer Prices Up in February 

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Consumer prices in the United States rose by 0.4 percent in February, according to the latest report from the Commerce Department.  That's the biggest jump in 10 months.

Much of the increase is because of higher gas prices.  If you take out food and gas, the core rate of inflation remains tame, gaining just 0.1 percent last month.

Even so, consumers are feeling the pressure.  Over the past year, prices have increased by about 3 percent -- that's slightly above average wage hikes, meaning many Americans with full time jobs are still struggling to maintain their standard of living.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb172012

Consumer Prices Up 0.2% in January

Jupiterimages/Pixland/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- There's more bad news for your wallet. Consumer prices rose by 0.2 percent in January after falling flat the month before, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Albeit small, the increase was the biggest since September 2011, when the Consumer Price Index shot up by 0.3 percent.

Last month's spike saw the costs of food, gas, clothing and medical care jump in an already shaky enonomy.

Over the last 12 months, the Labor Department said, prices have gone up by 2.9 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct192011

US Consumer Prices Rise 0.3% in September

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Consumers paid more for food and gas last month, but other price hikes were minimal.

The Labor Department says consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in September and the core rate -- not counting food and energy -- was up 0.1 percent, less than expected.

Over the past year, prices have gone up faster than average wages. That means living standards for most consumers are down slightly. But economist Hugh Johnson says there could be less inflation soon.

“We've seen a pretty big run-up in consumer prices, largely driven by rising commodity prices and rising oil prices,” Johnson said Wednesday, “but now that's starting to moderate.”

Johnson says that overall, inflation is going in the right direction.

“It was high and now it's starting to moderate on a year-over-year basis, or come back to a number that most of us can live with.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun152011

Consumer Prices Rose 0.2% in May

BananaStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Consumer prices continued to rise in May, but in promising news, they rose by the smallest amount in nearly a year.

According to the Labor Department's latest figures released Wednesday, prices rose 0.2 percent last month, dropping from a 0.4 percent increase in April.  A decline in gasoline and energy costs helped put the brakes on inflation.

Food prices, on the other hand, continued to rise, going up 0.4 percent in May.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May122011

Wholesale Prices Up in April on Increased Fuel Costs

Medioimages/Photodisc(WASHINGTON) -- Companies paid more for raw materials and factory goods in April. The Labor Department says the wholesale price index rose .8 percent. The rate has gone up nearly seven percent over the past year, much larger than the rise in consumer prices. The major cause has been more expensive fuel. Since April, oil and gasoline futures have fallen and if that trend holds it would reduce the pressure on inflation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb182011

Consumer Prices Rise, but Price Apocalypse Not Here Yet

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For all the headlines this week about a rash of rising prices, the reality for American consumers is that there’s not much there.  At least not yet.

The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that overall consumer prices have increased just 1.6 percent in the past year.  The increase is well within historical norms for price gains and won’t have people having to choose between fueling the car or buying the "extras."

Of note, most of the increase in prices at the retail level come from an increase in the price of energy, which posted a 7.3 percent rise in the past year.  Gasoline, up 13.4 percent, and fuel oil, up 17.3 percent, lead the way in that category.

But despite rising "input" costs, there are big categories of consumer spending where prices haven’t gone up that much in the past year.

Food prices are up just 1.8 percent from the past year, while clothing prices remain literally unchanged at the retail level for consumers.  Shelter costs –- rents and mortgages -– are up just 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, during the same period -- from January 2010 to January 2011 –- average weekly earnings have increased 2.5 percent, according to the Bureau's figures.  So the average American is actually coming out ahead, with their wage increases besting the increasing costs, but just by a little.

Why aren’t prices going up more?  Well, retailers have absorbed some of those increasing costs for fear that American consumers aren’t ready to see prices go up.

And this lack of pricing power for retailers is likely keeping hiring in check.  If retailers believe they can’t pass along increasing costs, they're not likely going to increase their fixed costs by adding workers.

But this tepid consumer price environment is likely going to change in the coming months.  Big companies are starting to signal to the markets that they're ready to start passing along increasing costs.

If they are able to increase prices without a significant drop in sales, this "inflation" might actually be a good thing.  It might give the companies confidence to hire, as it’s a real world signal that the economy has recovered enough to handle rising prices.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio