Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CPI: Prices up 2.0 percent in Mountain-Plains region

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released this week the February CPI for US urban areas and regions. In the Mountain-Plains region, from February 2012 to February 2013, the CPI increased 2.0 percent, rising from January's year-over-year change of 1.6 percent.

In the first graph, we see that the year-over-year change in February for the Mountain-Plains CPI was down from February 2012's change of 2.5 percent, and was well down from 2008's pre-recession annual change of 3.5 percent.

In the Mountain-Plains region, housing costs, which are a major portion of the CPI, moved up a little, increasing year-over-year by 2.3 percent, following many months of year-over-year increases that were below 2 percent.

Apparel prices, which have seen significant increases in recent months, moderated somewhat during February with a year over year increase of 2.4 percent.

Medical costs increased 2.7 percent, year over year, while gasoline was up by 2.7 percent as well.

The second graph shows year-over-year changes in Mountain-Plains CPI for all months since 2002:

The CPI change from January 2013 to February 2013 was up 0.8 percent.

Over the past ten years (comparing June 2003 to December 2012), the CPI has risen 27 percent. In other words, a dollar today buys about 75 percent of what it did in 2003.