Source: Jose Nino

In the month of November, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) grew 0.8% in November on a seasonally adjusted basis following a 0.9% increase in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on December 10, 2021

In the last 12 months, the all items index grew by 6.8% prior to the seasonal adjustment, which is the largest increase since June 1982.

The index for all items minus food and energy grew 4.9% over the last 12 months, while  the energy index climbed up 33.3% during the last year, and the food index grew 6.1%. 

According to Susan Jones of CNS News, “these changes are the largest 12-month increases in at least 13 years in the respective series.”

Generally speaking, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in prices that consumers pay for goods and services. The CPI depicts spending patterns for several population groups such as urban consumers, urban wage earners, and clerical workers.

The all urban consumer group (CPI-U) comprises roughly 93% of the total American population. It measures the expenditures of nearly all metro area residents, which includes professionals, self-employed individuals, the poor, the unemployed, and retirees, in addition to urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W). The CPI-W segment of the population is 29% of the total U.S. population and is a sub-group of the CPI-U population. 

The spending patterns of people living in rural non-metro areas, farming families, people in the Armed Forces, and those in institutions —prisons and mental hospitals — are not included in the CPI.

The food index itself grew by 0.7% in November after rising 0.9% in September and October. The food at home index grew 0.8% in November, which coincided with the rise in all 6 major grocery store food group indices. The food at home index surged 6.4% during the past 12 months, the biggest 12-month rise since the period ending December 2008.

The indices for other food at home and for fruits and vegetables also increased 1.0% in November. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs grew 0.9 % in November. Within this group, the pork index climbed upward by 2.2%. However, the index for eggs fell by 2.7% in November. 

In November, the cereals and bakery products index moved upward by 0.8% following larger increases in September and October. The index for dairy and related products grew by 0.2% in the last month. Non-alcoholic beverages grew by 0.2%. 

The food away from home index grew 0.6% in November after a 0.8% increase in October. The index for food away from home grew 5.8% over the last 12 months, which represents the largest 12-month increase since the period that ended in January 1982.

The energy index grew by 3.5% in November after growing 4.8% in October. Overall, the energy index increased by 33.3% over the past 12 months with all major energy component indexes increasing markedly.

The gasoline index increased by 6.1% in November. The gasoline index increased 58.1% over the past year, marking the largest 12-month increase since the period that ended in April 1980.

The electricity index surged 0.3% in November after increasing 1.8% in October. This index increased 6.5% on a year-to-year basis.

Similarly, the index for natural gas grew 0.6% in November after a 6.6% increase the prior month. In the past 12 months, the natural gas index grew by 25.1%.

The index for all items minus foods and energy grew 0.5% in November and has gone upward by 4.9% during the past 12 months. This is the largest 12-month increase since the timeframe ending in June 1991.  

On a more interesting note, the index for used cars and trucks increased 31.4% over the past 12 months, and the index for new vehicles grew by 11.1%. The shelter index went up by 3.8%, the largest 12-month increase since the timeframe that ended on June 2007. The medical care index increased 1.7% during the last year.