PROVIDENCE – The Northeast consumer price index increased 1.6% year over year in June, not seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Thursday, the same increase seen on the national level.
Northeast CPI changes year over year:
- Food and beverage: Increased 1.7%, slower than the 1.9% nationally
- Housing: Increased 2%, slower than the 3% growth nationally
- Apparel: Increased 0.7%, compared with a 1.3% decline nationally
- Transportation: Declined 0.9% year over year, larger than the national 0.7% decline
- Gasoline: Declined 6.3% year over year, faster than the national decline of 5.4%
- Medical care: Increased 3.6%, faster than the 2% increase nationally
- Recreation: Increased 2.1%, faster than 0.8% nationally
- Education and communication: Increased 1.3%, faster than the 0.6% increase nationally
National CPI change breakdown:
A key measure of United States consumer prices rose more than forecast in June, potentially complicating the Federal Reserve’s assessment of inflation as policy makers weigh an interest-rate cut as soon as this month.
The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.3% from the prior month, the most since January 2018, and 2.1% from a year earlier, Labor Department data showed Thursday. Both figures exceeded estimates. The broader CPI climbed 0.1%, also more than projected, and 1.6% annually.
The report showed broad monthly gains in the core categories, including pickups in costs for shelter, used vehicles, clothing, and home furnishings and operations.
The firmer inflation readings follow Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony to lawmakers Wednesday that there’s “a risk that weak inflation will be even more persistent than we currently anticipate.’’ Also Wednesday, minutes of the June policy meeting showed officials judged uncertainties and risks to the economic outlook had increased significantly, strengthening the case for a rate cut at their July 30-31 meeting.
Inflation, measured by the Fed’s preferred gauge, was 1.5% in the year through May and has been below target for most of the past seven years while the closely watched core index rose 1.6%. President Donald Trump, who along with aides has repeatedly pressured the Fed to cut rates to support growth, has also cited low inflation as a reason for easing.
The CPI report showed prices for used cars and trucks rose 1.6% from the prior month and 1.2% percent from a year earlier. Apparel, which has been volatile in recent months, rose 1.1% on the month while dropping 1.3% over the year.
Energy prices slipped 2.3% from the prior month as gasoline prices fell 3.6%. Food costs were unchanged.
Shelter costs, which make up about one-third of total CPI, rose 0.3% on the month, as did owners-equivalent rent, one of the categories that tracks rental prices. Rent of primary residence increased 0.4%.
A separate report from the Labor Department Thursday showed filings for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since mid-April, adding to signs of a robust job market.
Jobless claims dropped by 13,000 to 209,000 in the week ended July 6, below all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists that had projected 221,000. The reporting period included the July 4 holiday, which may add to the volatility of the readings.
Reade Pickert is a reporter for Bloomberg News. PBN contributed to this article.