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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 2.3 percent nationwide from February ’19 to February ’20, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Core inflation (all items less the volatile food and energy categories) increased 2.4 percent since February ’19.
The cost of energy increased 2.8 percent from the previous February. Motor fuel prices rose 5.5 percent, and electricity costs went up 0.6 percent. Natural gas prices went down 2.0 percent. The shelter index grew 3.3 percent from February ’19. Food prices increased 1.8 percent, with the cost of dining out increasing 3.0 percent. Grocery prices rose 0.8 percent.
Consumer prices in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area increased 1.5 percent from February ’19 to February ’20. Core inflation, all items less food and energy, advanced 1.8 percent. The greatest contributor to the 12-month change was a 2.6 percent rise in the cost of shelter.
In the 12 months ending February ’20, the energy index fell 2.8 percent. Lower household energy costs led to the decline, with electricity costs falling 11.6 percent and natural gas prices decreasing 7.7 percent. In contrast, motor fuel costs increased 6.7 percent.
Food prices rose 1.2 percent during the previous 12 months. The cost of dining out grew 2.6 percent while grocery prices went down 0.4 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 fell 2.8 percent since last January