Thursday, July 19, 2012

Annual CPI growth in Mountain region up slightly in June

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released Monday the June CPI for US urban areas and regions. In the West region, from June 2011 to June 2012, the CPI increased 2.0 percent, rising slightly from MAy's year-over-year change of 1.9 percent.  

In the first graph, we see that the year-over-year change in June for the CPI was down from June 2011's change of 3.1 percent, and was well down from 2008's pre-recession annual change of 4.8 percent.

Housing costs, which are a major portion of the CPI, continue to help keep increases in the CPI down. Housing overall was up year over year by 2.0 percent and "owners' equivalent rent" was up by 2 percent. Rents for tenants, however, were up by 3.0 percent.

Apparel prices continued to grow and were up, year over year, by 3.9 percent although gasoline prices grew only 2.5 percent, according to the BLS. 

Annual increases in rent (according to State of Colorado data) have exceeded 5 percent in many areas of the state, but the housing component of CPI also reflects declining and stagnant home prices region-wide, which indirectly mitigate the increases in rent levels within the index. The full impact of rent increases on renters is not showing up in the overall CPI data.

The second graph shows year-over-year changes in CPI for all months since 2002. Annual CPI growth hovered around 3 percent for much of 2011.  The year-over-year change fell for much of 2012, but ticked back up again in June.

The CPI increase from May 2012 to June 2012 was down 0.2 percent.

Over the past ten years (comparing June 2003 to June 2012), the CPI has risen 23.7 percent. In other words, a dollar today buys less than 80 percent of what it did in 2003.