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The cost of consumer goods and services as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 5.4 percent nationwide from June ’20 to June ’21, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Largely driven by a hike in energy prices, the rise in inflation is the highest since August ’08 when prices also rose 5.4 percent. Energy costs jumped 24.5 percent from the previous June, largely due to a 44.8 percent increase in the cost of motor fuel. The cost of natural gas increased by 15.6 percent, while electricity rose 3.8 percent. The shelter index grew 2.6 percent from June of last year. In that same period, overall food prices increased 2.4 percent, grocery prices 0.9 percent, and the cost of dining out 4.2 percent.
Core inflation (all items less the volatile food and energy categories) increased 4.5 percent since June ’20, the largest annual increase since September 1991 and “well above the estimate of 3.8 percent,” according to CNBC.
The consumer price index for June ’20 showed gains in every major category, due to “supply-chain bottlenecks, extraordinarily high demand as the Covid-19 pandemic eases and year-over-year comparisons to a time when the economy was struggling to reopen in the early months of the crisis,” reports CNBC. Increased consumption from pent-up demand and savings accumulated over the pandemic continue to spur increased spending in reopening economies, despite higher prices.
Consumer prices in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area rose 4.6 percent from June ’20 to June ’21. The rise in inflation is the highest in the region since August ’08, when prices rose 4.9 percent.
Core inflation, all items less food and energy increased 3.1 percent. The shelter index grew 1.0 percent. Local food prices climbed 2.4 percent over the past 12 months. The cost of dining out increased 3.0 percent, while grocery prices rose 1.8 percent.
The local energy index surged 29.7 percent since June ’20, boosted by a 51.6 percent increase in motor fuel prices. Electricity prices jumped 12.0 percent, while natural gas rose 6.5 percent.
 CPI data in this commentary are not seasonally adjusted.
 Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller Counties.
Elizabeth Balderrama, PCED
Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research
Houston's energy index grew 29.7 percent since last June
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