Housing Costs Drive Increase in Inflation


Housing costs, along with gasoline prices, accounted for more than 60 percent of the overall monthly increase in consumer prices, according to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) released Tuesday morning. 

The CPI rose 3.2 percent in February from the year before, the U.S. Department of Labor said. That’s up slightly from the 3.1 percent annual increase in January. (These and other figures here represent seasonally unadjusted numbers.) 

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The shelter index within the CPI was up 5.7 percent in February compared to the same time last year and up 0.5 percent monthly, according to the report.

The index for rent rose 0.5 percent from January and for ownership rose 0.4 percent, and these indexes were up 5.8 percent and 6 percent annually, respectively. 

The figures suggest the Federal Reserve may not be out of the woods yet when it comes to keeping interest rates high to cool the economy.

And, as the 2024 presidential campaign gets underway, inflation is still increasing more sharply than President Joe Biden seemed to anticipate when he spoke about the country’s economic recovery in his State of the Union address last week.

“Wages keep going up and inflation keeps coming down,” Biden said. 

Consumer prices have cooled from the peak inflation rate of over 9 percent in June 2022, the president noted in his speech.

He said inflation in the United States is the “lowest in the world — and trending lower.”

The figures are based on data the Labor Department collects from about 6,000 households and 22,000 retailers across 75 cities each month. 

Abigail Nehring can be reached at anehring@commercialobserver.com




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