Delayed Data Show September Was Another Quiet Month for Inflation
Were you waiting nervously for September’s report on the Consumer Price Index? You can relax now. The data, delayed by the government shutdown, is finally out and they hold no big surprises. None at all. The all items CPI rose in September at a seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent annual rate. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI was up just 1.2 percent.
The September increase in the CPI was spurred by an uptick in energy prices, which rose 0.8 percent in the month. The increase, however, was entirely due to seasonal adjustment. On an unadjusted basis, energy prices actually dropped in the month. Another way of removing seasonal influences is to note that energy prices in September 2013 were 3.1 percent lower than they were in September 2012.
Food prices, another CPI component that is often volatile, were unchanged for the month, both with and without seasonal adjustment. The food index was up 1.4 percent for the year. Removing both food and energy gives the core CPI, often thought to better reflect long-term inflation trends. The core CPI rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2 percent in September. Year-on-year it was up by 1.7 percent.