Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Atlanta area inflation: Consumer prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate in August

 

Consumer prices in the Atlanta metro area advanced 1.1 percent in the two months ending in August 2021, according to new information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., metropolitan area.

The two-month rise in prices was less than the two-month increases recorded earlier in the year for the February, April, and June periods. The CPI-U for the Atlanta area is published bi-monthly.

Food prices rose 0.6 percent over the two-month period ending in August, while energy prices increased 1.5 percent. Excluding food and energy, the index for all other items rose by 1.1 percent.

For the 12 months ending in August 2021, consumer prices in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., area rose by 6.6 percent, slightly less than the 12-month increase recorded in June.

Food prices increased 1.3 percent over the year and energy prices moved up by 26 percent. Excluding food and energy, the index for all other items rose by 5.8 percent for the 12 months ending in August, the same as the 12- month percentage increase recorded in June.

12-month inflation rates for selected items

Gasoline costs rose 51.7 percent in the 12 months ending in August 2021, compared to a 22.6 percent drop recorded in the previous 12-month period. The higher gasoline costs along with a 30.9 percent increase in the cost of used cars and trucks contributed to a 19.9 percent rise in the transportation index.

Costs for shelter, which includes both rent of primary residence as well as the owners’ equivalent rent of residences, increased 5.8 percent over the year.

Atlanta compared to United States

For the two months ending in August, consumer prices in the Atlanta area rose faster than the nation, with the U.S. index increasing by 0.7 percent compared to the 1.1 percent reported for the Atlanta metro area.

Food prices nationwide rose 1.1 percent over two months, while energy prices increased 2.5 percent. Excluding food and energy, the index for all other items moved up by 0.5 percent.

Over the past 12 months, the index for all items for the United States increased 5.3 percent, while consumer prices in the Atlanta area moved up by 6.6 percent.

Looking at the CPI over 24 months 

Disruption to consumers and businesses due to Covid-19 restrictions and shutdowns in 2020 resulted in consumers cutting back on some purchases while shifting expenditures for other purchases. 

Nationally, average annual expenditures for all consumer units in 2020 were $61,334, a 2.7-percent decrease from 2019, and the U. S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nine of the 14 major components of household spending decreased during 2020. 

As a result, there is some value in looking at consumer prices over a 24-month period in addition to the normal over-the-year report. 

Over the 24-month period from August 2019 to August 2021, consumer prices in the Atlanta metro area averaged 3.7 percent over each of the past two years, while nationally consumer prices averaged 3.3 per cent per year. 

Using the 3.7 percent average over each of the past two Augusts, consumer prices in the Atlanta area are at their highest 12-month level for an August period since August 2011, when the 12-month increase was 3.8 percent.