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CPI Surges 7% - Highest Since 1982

January 12, 2022

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.8 percent in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 7.0 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Increases in the indexes for shelter and for used cars and trucks were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The food index also contributed, although it increased less than in recent months,
rising 0.5 percent in December. The energy index declined in December, ending a long series of increases; it fell 0.4 percent as the indexes for gasoline and natural gas both decreased.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent in December following a 0.5-percent increase in November. This was the sixth time in the last 9 months it has increased at least 0.5 percent. Along with the
indexes for shelter and for used cars and trucks, the indexes for household furnishings and operations, apparel, new vehicles, and medical care all increased in December. As in November, the indexes for motor vehicle insurance and recreation were among the few to decline over the month.

The all items index rose 7.0 percent for the 12 months ending December, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982. The all items less food and energy index rose 5.5 percent, the largest 12-month change
since the period ending February 1991. The energy index rose 29.3 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 6.3 percent.

Food

The food index increased 0.5 percent in December following larger increases in each of the three previous months. The food at home index increased 0.4 percent in December after rising 0.8 percent in November. Five of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased in December. The index for fruits and vegetables increased the most, rising 0.9 percent over the month as the index for fresh fruits increased 1.8 percent. The index for nonalcoholic beverages rose 0.8 percent in December, and the index for dairy and related products increased
0.7 percent. The index for other food at home rose 0.6 percent, and the index for cereals and bakery products increased 0.4 percent over the month.

The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs declined in December, falling 0.4 percent after rising at least 0.7 percent in each of the last 7 months. The indexes for beef (-2.0 percent) and pork (-0.8 percent) declined after recent sharp increases.

The food away from home index rose 0.6 percent in December, the same increase as in November. The index for full service meals rose 0.8 percent, and the index for limited service meals advanced 0.6 percent over the month.

The food at home index rose 6.5 percent over the last 12 months; this compares to a 1.5-percent annual increase over the last 10 years. All of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased over the period. By far the largest increase was that of the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which rose 12.5 percent over the year despite falling in December. The index for dairy and related products increased 1.6 percent, the smallest increase among the groups.

The index for food away from home rose 6.0 percent over the last year, the largest increase since January 1982. The index for limited service meals rose 8.0 percent over the last 12 months, and the index for full service meals rose 6.6 percent. The index for food at employee sites and schools, in contrast, declined 49.3 percent over the past 12 months, reflecting widespread free lunch programs.

Energy

The energy index declined 0.4 percent in December; this followed a 3.5-percent increase in November and was its first decrease since April 2021. The gasoline index fell 0.5 percent in December after rising 6.1 percent in both November and October. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices fell 2.2 percent in December.) The index for natural gas also declined in December, falling 1.2 percent after rising in each of the last 10 months. The electricity index, in contrast, rose in December, increasing 0.3 percent, the same increase as in November.

The energy index rose 29.3 percent over the past 12 months with all major energy component indexes increasing. The gasoline index rose 49.6 percent over the last year. The index for natural gas rose 24.1 percent over the last 12 months, and the electricity index rose 6.3 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent in December. The shelter index increased 0.4 percent in December as the indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both rose 0.4 percent, the same increases as in November and October. The index for used cars and trucks continued to rise, advancing 3.5 percent in December after increasing 2.5 percent in each of the prior 2 months.

The index for household furnishings and operations rose 1.1 percent over the month as the indexes for furniture and bedding and for housekeeping supplies increased. The apparel index rose 1.7 percent over the month, its largest
increase since January 2021. The index for new vehicles continued to rise, increasing 1.0 percent in December; this was its eighth consecutive monthly increase of at least 1.0 percent.

The medical care index rose 0.3 percent in December. The index for hospital services increased 0.2 percent and the index for prescription drugs rose 0.1 percent, while the index for physicians’ services was unchanged. Other indexes that rose in December include airline fares (+2.7 percent), personal care (+0.5percent), tobacco (+0.7 percent), and education (+0.1 percent).

In contrast to these increases, the motor vehicle insurance index fell 1.5 percent in December after declining 0.8 percent the prior month. The recreation index fell 0.2 percent in December, the same decline as last month. The
communication index was unchanged over the month.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 5.5 percent over the past 12 months, its largest 12-month increase since the period ending February 1991. Major contributors to this increase include shelter (+4.1 percent) and used cars and trucks (+37.3 percent). However, the increase is broad-based, with virtually all component indexes showing increases over the past 12 months.

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 7.0 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 278.802 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.3 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 7.8 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 273.925 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.3 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 6.9 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.3 percent on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the past 10 to 12 months are subject to revision.

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