As long as you didn’t buy food or gasoline, use electricity, or pay for shelter, then your pocketbook was likely not under pressure in March. However, if your consumption habits align with any of the above mentioned, then you probably felt the explosive surge in inflation last month, which rose by 0.6% month-over-month — the biggest jump since June 2009.
According to the latest Bureau of Labour Statistics data, the CPI increased by 0.6% from February, and jumped by 2.6% from year-ago levels. However, excluding volatile items such as food and energy, the index rose only 0.3% in March. Among the largest contributors to the increase were gasoline prices, which surged by 9.1% since February, and a whooping 22.5% from 2020 levels, and are responsible for nearly half of the CPI gain. Food prices also climbed higher, up by 0.1% for the month and 3.5% higher since last year.
The shelter index also jumped by 0.3% last month, as the index for rent and for owners’ equivalent rent both rose by 0.2%. Compared to year-ago levels, shelter inflation jumped from 1.47% year-over-year in February to 1.7% in March, marking the highest increase since 2020. The motor vehicle insurance index and the used cars and truck index also increased in March, rising by 3.3% and 0.5%, respectively.
The index for household furnishings and operations jumped in March, rising by 0.4%. The index for personal care also increased from the previous month, rising by 0.6%. However, if you were in the market for new clothes last month, then you’re in luck: the index for apparel fell by by a further 0.3%, following a decline of 0.7% in February.
The latest print in the clearest sign that the US is in the midst of mounting inflation, especially as producer prices continue to put added pressure on consumer prices. But as Fed Chair Jerome Powell continues to assert, the rising price pressures are nothing to worry about, as it’s a “temporary” setback to your pocketbook….
Information for this briefing was found via the BLS. Thee author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.