Tuesday, October 16, 2012

BLS: CPI growth for West region at 2.1 percent

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released Today the September CPI for US urban areas and regions. In the Mountain-Plains region, from September 2011 to September 2012, the CPI increased 2.2 percent, rising from August's year-over-year change of 2.1 percent.   

In the first graph, we see that the year-over-year change in September for the Mountain-Plains CPI was down from September 2011's change of 3.1 percent, and was well down from 2008's pre-recession annual change of 4.3 percent. 

In the Mountain-Plains region, housing costs, which are a major portion of the CPI, continue to be muted and housing overall was up year over year by 2.0 percent.  

Apparel prices continued to grow and were up, year over year, by 3.8 percent and transportation prices were up by 2.9 percent, reflecting falling gasoline prices in recent months. Medical care prices were up by 3.9 percent. 

In spite of a third round of quantitative easing, CPI growth is restrained. 

From a monetary-supply standpoint, muted CPI growth is partly due to over a trillion dollars being held as excess reserves by lending institutions, and from a demand standpoint, prices are restrained by continued moderation in job growth. 

The second graph shows year-over-year changes in Mountain-Plains CPI for all months since 2002. Annual CPI growth hovered around 3 percent for much of 2011, but has been down near 2 percent for the past six months.