Showing posts with label atlanta inflation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label atlanta inflation. Show all posts

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Consumers in the Atlanta area saw some slowing of inflation in October although annual increases remained above the national average

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., metropolitan area rose 10.7% in the 12 months ending in October according to new information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Because BLS publishes the full CPI index only every two months for the Atlanta area, there is no comparable 12-month increase available for the year ending in September. For the 12 months ending in August, the all-items index rose 11.7%.

Nationally, consumer prices rose 0.4% over the month and 7.7% for the 12 months ending in October.

Food at home

Consumers in the Atlanta area saw no net increase in their costs for food at home in October after seeing a 1.0% increase in September. October was the first month since last November that consumers had seen no increase in their monthly grocery bill. For the 12 months ending in October, food at home costs rose 14.0%, below the 15.5% increase posted for the year ending in September.

Shelter

Costs for shelter in the Atlanta area rose 0.7% in October after increasing 1.0% the previous month. For the 12 months ending in October, the index rose 13.2%.

In October, rents increased 0.5% over the month. Since last October, rents in the Atlanta area have risen 12.2%.

Owners’ equivalent rent of residences advanced 0.8% in October, smaller than the 1.3% rise recorded in September. Over the past 12 months, owners’ equivalent rent has grown by 14.0%, the same annual increase recorded in September.

Gasoline

Gasoline prices continued to decline in October although at a slower pace. Over the month, gasoline prices in the Atlanta area dropped 1.5% after declining 13.6% and 8.1% in August and September, respectively.

For the 12 months ending in October, gasoline prices rose 3.4%, as the Georgia governor continued his moratorium on the state’s fuel tax. The annual increase was the smallest recorded since January 2021 and follows 19 consecutive months of annual increases in the double digits.

Atlanta compared to the U.S.

Nationwide in October, costs for food at home increased 0.5% over the month and rose 12.4% over the year.

Looking at national data, rent increased 0.8% in October and increased 7.5% for the 12 months ending in October.

Owners’ equivalent rent of residences increased 0.7% over the month for the nation and rose 6.9% over the past year.

Gasoline prices moved up 3.1% in October nationwide resulting in a 17.5% rise since last October.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Atlanta area consumers continue to face rising costs as grocery prices rise 15.5% over the year, the fastest increase since the 1970s

Consumers in the Atlanta area continued to see significant increases in their grocery costs, rent, and gasoline costs in September, according to new information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Food at home

Atlanta area consumers saw their grocery food costs rise by 1.0% in September, which despite being a significant monthly increase, was the lowest monthly change since December. Between January and August of this year, monthly food costs had increased between 1.1 to 2.0% each month.

As a result of the continued large monthly increases, costs for food at home advanced 15.5% over the year. Consumers in the Atlanta area are experiencing annual increases in grocery costs that have not been seen since 1974, which means most Atlanta consumers have not seen these levels of increases in grocery costs in their lifetimes.

A full list of changes in consumer prices for all urban consumers in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., area, not seasonally adjusted, is provided by BLS for even-numbered months, while a partial list is provided in odd-numbered months (January, March, May, July, September, and November).

Shelter

For most consumers, housing comprises the largest part of their budget, followed by food and transportation.

In September, rents increased 0.9% over the month, the smallest monthly increase since March. Over the year, rents in the Atlanta area rose by 12.9%, a smaller annual increase than recorded in August. Renters would have to go back to 1980 to see the equivalent of the annual rent increases being experienced in the summer of 2022 in the Atlanta area.

Owners’ equivalent rent of residences advanced 1.3% in September, less than the 1.7% increase recorded in August. Over the past 12 months, owners’ equivalent rent has grown by 14.0% making it nearly equivalent to the 12-month increase recorded in August.

Gasoline

Gasoline prices declined for the third consecutive month, dropping 8.1% in September, a smaller decrease than experienced in August. Despite recent declines, gas prices in the Atlanta area stood 10% above the levels recorded in September 2021. The increase comes despite the Georgia governor’s decision to continue to suspend the state’s motor fuel tax, which moderated the cost of gasoline to consumers in the state.

Atlanta compared to the U.S.

Compared to the U.S. overall, Atlanta consumers are experiencing faster rising costs for food at home, rent, and owners’ equivalent of rent, while seeing slower increases in the cost of gasoline.

Nationally, costs for food at home increased 0.6% over the month and rose 13.0% for the 12 months ending in September.

Rent increased 0.9% over the month and rose 7.2% over the year, while owners’ equivalent rent advanced 0.8% over the month and 6.7% over the year.

Gasoline prices for the nation fell 5.6% in September, but posted a 18.2% increase for the 12 months ending in September.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Atlanta inflation slows in August but danger increases as signs that inflation becomes more embedded beyond food and energy

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., area rose by 1.3% in the two-month period ending in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This increase was smaller than the 2.4% increase recorded in the May-June period. BLS provides a full inflation report for the Atlanta area six times a year.

For the 12 months ending in August, the Atlanta area saw an inflation rate of 11.7% compared to the national increase of 8.3%.

Food costs rose 2.8% over the two-month period with costs for food at home rising 3.0% as costs for food away from home increased 2.5%. For the 12 months ending in August, food costs in the Atlanta area were up 12.6%, as costs for food at home rose 14.6% and costs for food away from home increased 9.8%.

Offsetting some of the increase in food costs, energy costs dropped 10.1% over two months with costs for gasoline declining 19.2%. Over the year, energy costs in the Atlanta area have risen 16.8%, led by a 19.6% increase in gasoline costs despite the state’s suspension of its motor fuel tax.

Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, costs for all other consumer items in the Atlanta area rose 2.3% for a 12-month increase of 11.0% in August. The over-the-year increase was the largest recorded for the Atlanta area since BLS began bimonthly reporting in 1999.

The fact that consumer items less directly tied to food and energy costs were rising at such a steep rate means that companies were able to pass along increases to consumers and that slowing price increases will be a much harder job as companies and consumers adjust to continued higher costs with companies demanding higher prices and workers demanding higher wages to offset these prices.

For example, the costs for services in the Atlanta area rose 1.9% in the two months ending in August and increased 11.0% over the year.

Housing costs remain elevated with the cost of housing in the Atlanta area rising 2.7% over two months and increasing 12.8% over the past year.

Rent of primary residence increased 3.3% in the two months ending in August, while rental costs have risen 13.5% over the year.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Atlanta metro area’s 2.8% unemployment rate in July says a lot about the current state of the labor market

Atlanta metro area employment and unemployment numbers for July tell an interesting tale about the area’s current labor market.

The Georgia Department of Labor reports that the area’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.8%, down 0.4% over the month as the number of unemployed persons declined by 11,842.

With the number employed growing by only 692, most of the decline came as 11,145 people dropped out of the labor force.

People choose to enter or exit the labor force for multiple reasons. Pressure on family budgets can draw people into seeking employment, while the opportunities to earn higher wages can also induce people to exchange their nonwork time for a paycheck.

Groups of people who are outside the labor force normally include nonworking spouses of employed people, fulltime students, and people who have chosen to retire from employment and are living off their pensions and retirement savings.

With inflation in the Atlanta area running at an annual rate of 11.5% as of June, it would be expected that inflation pressures would drive people back into seeking work, but so far, the July numbers do not indicate that is the case.

On a more positive side, higher wage rates might also encourage people to seek employment, but the reluctance of employers to raise wages, and therefore increase their employment costs, has muted wage increases.

At least for now you have a standoff. People seeking employment are finding it relatively easy to find work, but people who remain outside the labor force are not rushing in to fill vacancies. Probably, this equilibrium will not continue.

Longer term, if inflation continues to erode savings and household earnings, or if employers choose to raise wages because they find they are losing business due to unfilled vacancies, more people may choose to seek employment and thus increase both the labor force numbers as well as possibly the unemployment rate.

Alternatively, if the economy slows, employers may find it unnecessary to fill vacancies and may begin to lay off workers. This effect will also increase the unemployment rate.

In either case, it is likely to expect the Atlanta area unemployment rate to increase over the next year.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Atlanta area inflation in July for key items remains a problem for consumers

 

Costs for food at home and rent remained elevated in July, although gas costs declined after rising in the previous two months.

While the All-Items index in Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, is published only for even numbered months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does produce a few numbers for the Atlanta area on a monthly basis and these are now available for July 2022.

In July, costs for food at home rose 1.9%, the seventh consecutive month that this index has posted a monthly increase of greater than one percent. Over the first seven months of 2022, costs for food at home have increased 11.3%, while over the past 12 months, the index has risen 13.0%, the highest 12-month increase since BLS began posting monthly changes in 1999.

Rent of primary residence increased 1.0% in July, a smaller monthly increase than was posted in May and June of this year. So far in 2022, rent costs have risen 6.5% and have increased 12.8% over the past 12 months. As with food at home, this is the highest 12-month increase since BLS began posting monthly changes in 1999.

Gasoline costs dropped 6.6% in July, after rising in May and June. Despite last month’s decline, gasoline prices have increased 30.3% since the beginning of 2022 and have risen 39.6% over the past 12 months. This increase has occurred despite the governor’s order since April to suspend the collection of motor fuel and diesel fuel taxes. Without this suspension, retail gasoline costs would have been even higher.

National comparisons

Comparing increases in consumer costs for the nation with those in the Atlanta area, costs for food at home have risen at approximately the same rate nationally as in the Atlanta area, while the Atlanta area continues to see faster rising rents. Nationally, rent of primary residence has increased 6.3%, less than half of the rate of increase recorded in the Atlanta area.

Gasoline costs have risen at a slightly slower rate in the Atlanta area than for the nation, which posted in July a 12-month increase of 44.0%. While a few states, including Connecticut, New York, and Maryland, have suspended their state motor fuel taxes, which offsets a portion of the cost increase for consumers and subsequently lowers the index for gasoline (all types), most states continue to collect their tax.

Friday, July 29, 2022

The money illusion in the South: Employers raise wages, but retail prices continue to rise faster

 Employment Cost Index - 12-month increase

Private Industry Workers' Wages and Salaries in the South

Current Dollars


Constant Dollars

Private industry costs for wages and salaries in the South rose 2.2% for the 2nd quarter (April-June) 2022, according to new information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The increase occurred following increases of 1.0% in the 1st quarter of 2022 and 0.7% in the 4th quarter of 2021.

Over the past 12 months, southern employers’ payout of wages and salaries has risen 5.9%, the largest percentage increase in the series, which dates back to 2001. For private sector workers in the Atlanta-Athens area, the 12-month increase was 4.4%.

In comparison, nationally, private industry wages and salaries rose 1.6% in the 2nd quarter following increases of 1.4% and 1.0% in the previous two quarters.  Over the past year, employers’ cost for wages and salaries rose 5.7% for the nation.

Adjusting for inflation

While employer wage costs rose, they continued to fall behind the inflation rate of retail prices. Southern employers in private industry saw their costs for wages and salaries decline 1.0% over the quarter and 3.6% over the year when the dollars were adjusted for inflation.

For the U.S., private industry employers saw wages and salaries drop 1.4% over the quarter and decline 3.1% over the past 12 months when including adjustment for inflation.

Using another way of expressing the change over time for wages and salaries of private industry workers in the South, over the past 10 years, nominal (before inflation adjustment) wages have increased 31.3%.

Including the impact of inflation, this increase falls to a 1.8% cumulative increase over the past decade.

 Money illusion

One of the insidious effects of inflation is that workers see increases in their paychecks and feel wealthier even as their purchasing power declines. As a result, workers continue to spend based on their increasing nominal wages even though they are actually able to purchase less. This continuing propensity to spend actually contributes to inflation remaining elevated for a longer time period.

Only when inflation hits high levels will workers adjust their spending and/or begin to demand higher wages to compensate for their declining purchasing power.


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Job openings down in May for Georgia, as inflation rises in the Atlanta area in June

Two new reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paint a increasingly tough atmosphere for workers in Georgia. A decline in the number of job openings means fewer opportunities for workers to improve their economic position, while rising prices will squeeze their incomes.

Job openings in Georgia

Job openings in Georgia dropped by 69,000 between April and May 2022 to 367,000. In comparison, the state recorded 436,000 in April and 365,000 openings in May 2021.

The job openings rate in the state dropped from 7.4 in May 2021 to 7.1 in May 2022. The job openings rate peaked at 8.4 in August and October 2021 and again in February and April 2022.

If the number of workers choosing to quit offers an insight to workers' psychology, the number of job openings offers a similar insight to employers. A reduction in the number of openings indicates that employers in Georgia are less optimistic about their future business prospects.

While the number of job openings declined, the number of hires, quits and layoffs were virtually unchanged over the month.

Inflation

Consumer prices in the Atlanta area rose by 2.4% between April and June and increased 11.5% in the 12 months ending in June.

For the nation, consumer prices increased 2.5% for the two months ending in June and rose 9.1% over the past 12 months.

The 12-month increase was the largest recorded for the Atlanta metro area since BLS began posting bimonthly data in 1999. As a contrast, in January 2021 the Atlanta area recorded a 12-month increase of 2.4% compared to the current two-month increase with the same percentage change.

In June, food prices in the Atlanta area rose by 2.1%, over two months as costs for food at home increased 3.0% and food away from home moved up by 1.0%. Over the past 12 months, food prices increased 10.1%.

Housing costs increased 2.5% over the previous two months with rents increasing 2.7%. Over the past year, housing costs in the Atlanta area have risen 11.0% with rents increasing 12.2%.

After increasing in January, apparel costs have declined in each of the past four months with the apparel index posting a 6.9% decline in the two months ending in June. With those recent declines, the index has increased 4.8% over the past year.

Transportation costs rose 6.1% in June with the index increasing 23.8% over the previous 12 months, almost the same percentage increase recorded for the index in the 12 months ending in June 2021. Combined, the transportation index in the Atlanta area has risen 53.3% since June 2020.

Gasoline cost increases were a major contributor to the rise in transportation costs with gasoline costs rising 16.3% in the two months ending in June and increasing 50.8% over the past year. Since June 2020, gasoline costs in the Atlanta area have increased 140.3%.

Costs for all items less and food and energy in the Atlanta area increased 1.5% for the two months ending in June. The index rose 9.7% over the past 12 months.

The index for all items less food and energy in the U.S. increased 1.3%, while the 12-month increase was 5.9%. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Inflation remains elevated in the Atlanta area for April 2022

 CPI-U Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

12-month percentage change, 1981 through 2021

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Consumer prices in the Atlanta area (CPI-U for Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA) rose 1.9% for the two months ending in April 2022, according to newly released information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The two-month increase in prices for the March-April period were slightly less than the 2.3% increase recorded in the January-February period.

Over the 12 months ending in April, consumer prices rose by 10.8% in the Atlanta area. Consumer prices in the Atlanta area were slightly above the 10.6% increase recorded for the 12-month period ending in February and remain at the highest level recorded for the Atlanta area since 1981.

For the United States, consumer prices rose 1.9% for the two months ending in April and increased 8.3% over the past 12 months.

Atlanta area prices

Food prices increased 2.2% for the two months ending in April and have risen 9.3% over the past 12 months reaching the largest 12-month increase since 1981. Costs for food at home increased 3.1% over the past two months, while costs for food away from home increased 1.1%.

Energy prices rose 7.6% for the two months ending in April with gasoline prices increasing 14.3%. Over the past year, energy costs have risen 23.5%, while gasoline prices have moved up 40.2%.

The prices for all items less food and energy increased 1.2% for the two months ending in April and 9.8% over the past 12 months. Notably, costs for shelter in the Atlanta area increased 2.0% over the past two months and have increased 9.9% over the past year, the largest 12-month increase for the shelter index since 1982.

Real earnings

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish inflation-adjusted hourly earnings for the Atlanta area but does produce information for the nation based on national data.

For the one-month period ending in April, real average hourly earnings for all employees declined by 0.1%. This result stems from an increase of 0.3% in average hourly earnings combined with an increase of 0.3% in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average hourly earnings decreased 2.6%, seasonally adjusted, from April 2021 to April 2022. The change in real average hourly earnings combined with a decrease of 0.9% in the average workweek resulted in a 3.4% decrease in real average weekly earnings over this period.


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Why inflation in services matters

 CPI-U, U.S. Services, 12-month percentage increase


February’s inflation rate for services rose 0.6%, just a touch below January’s increase of 0.7% with the two months’ combined increase moving towards levels last seen in 2008 before the recession saw a slowdown in costs. 

For the 12 months ending in February 2022, the CPI-U Services index rose 4.8%, the highest 12-month increase for the index since 1991. For the Atlanta area, the services index rose 7.8%. 

Unlike food and energy prices that tend to be more volatile, related to supply chain issues, and are more subject to global influences; costs for services are more influenced by domestic considerations. 

Energy prices may vary depending on global supply and demand considerations for items like gasoline and natural gas, food prices may vary depending on global supply and demand considerations for a host of products such as wheat, but costs for services are mostly dependent on demand and supply within the U.S. economy. 

As the New York Federal Reserve pointed out back in 2013, “While core services inflation depends on long-run inflation expectations and the degree of slack in the labor market, core goods inflation depends on short-run inflation expectations and import prices.” (https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/current_issues/ci19-7.html

What are services? 

In the most basic approach, the Consumer Price Index can be broken down into goods and services. BLS defines services as including   shelter, transportation services, medical care services, energy services, water and sewerage, maintenance, trash and garbage collection, household operations, education, and other services. 

By reviewing this list, one can see that services tend to be located within the borders of the U.S., and thus less subject to fluctuations in the global economy. At the same time, prices for services tend to move in a more even fashion with less volatility than the overall index. 

As a result, once prices for services move up, it makes it that much harder to bring down inflation as services inflation tends to embed in the economy. If the Federal Reserve’s policy is to maintain inflation at or about the 2% level, then inflation for services will need to drop by more than half to meet that goal.


Atlanta consumer prices rise more than 10% over the year; largest yearly increase in 4 decades

 

Consumer Prices in Atlanta Metro Area, 12-month Increase, February 1999-February 2022

Consumer prices in the metro Atlanta area rose 10.6% for the 12 months ending in February 2022, according to information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the nation, prices increased 7.9% for the comparable period. 

The increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., was the largest 12-month increase recorded since 1981.

Costs for food and beverages in the Atlanta area increased 6.5% as prices for food at home rose 5.9% and food away from home increased 7.6%.

Housing costs rose 8.6% as rents increased 8.5% and costs for household fuels and utilities rose 7.6%. Apparel prices in the metro Atlanta area were up 11.8%.

Transportation costs increased 11.8% with prices for new vehicles increasing 30.7% and prices for used cars and trucks rising 41.4% over the year. Gasoline prices rose 39.9% for the 12 months ending in February.

Recreation costs increased 5.5% and costs for education and communication were up 1.9% over the year.

The index for energy costs increased 22.3%, while prices for all items less food and energy rose 10.1%.

Costs for services increased 7.8% for the 12 months ending in February. The services index should be especially noted, as the index may indicate that inflation is becoming more embedded in consumer purchases.

Comparison with the nation

Overall, costs in the Atlanta area continue to grow at a faster pace than the nation, although this varied by item.

For the two months ending in February, consumer prices increased 2.3% in the Atlanta area, while they rose 1.8% nationally.

Housing, apparel, transportation, recreation, and education and communication costs all rose faster for the Atlanta area than for the nation as a whole.

Costs for services increased 7.8% in the Atlanta area compared to 4.8% nationwide.

Costs for food and beverages and energy rose at a slower rate for Atlanta than for the nation. Energy costs rose at a slower rate in the Atlanta area due to lower increases in household fuels and utilities despite gasoline prices rising faster.

The news release for the national CPI is available at Consumer Price Index Summary - 2022 M02 Results (bls.gov).


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Labor costs growing at a much slower rate than inflation in the Atlanta area

Slower rising labor costs good news for employers, but not for workers facing higher consumer prices 

Compensation costs for private industry workers in the Atlanta-Athens Combined Statistical Area increased 2.5 percent in 2021, according to newly released information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and salaries for private industry workers rose 3.1 percent.

Earlier in the month, BLS released inflation data for 2021, and a comparison of the two reports shows that labor costs are rising at a much slower rate than consumer prices in the Atlanta area. BLS reported that consumer prices in the Atlanta metro area rose 9.7 percent in 2021.

For employers the slow rise in labor costs helps them offset some of the pressure coming from increasing producer prices, which rose 9.7 percent nationally.

The slower rise in wages and salaries, when compared to consumer prices, adds pressure on Atlanta area household budgets and incentivizes workers to search for ways to either lower their consumer costs or increase their compensation.

Both compensation costs and wages and salary costs in the Atlanta-Athens area were among the lowest increases recorded for 15 metro areas published by BLS.

The Seattle-Takoma, Wa, CSA showed the fastest increase in total compensation costs, up 6.3 percent over the year, while the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St Lucie, Fl, CSA recorded the fastest rise in wage and salary costs, moving up 6.0 percent over the year.

Nationally, compensation costs for private industry workers rose 4.4 percent in 2021, while wages and salary costs increased 5.0 percent.


Saturday, December 4, 2021

Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank continues to believe that inflation will ease

 The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has released a summary of economic conditions in the Southeast U.S. ahead of the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting on December 14-15, 2021. 

According to the Atlanta Fed, expectations remain that price pressures will ease in 2022. For the 12 months ending in October, the Atlanta area saw inflation rise by 7.9 percent, the largest 12-month increase since 1982. 

Prices. “Nonlabor costs continued to increase, and inputs such as raw materials, the availability of which remained exacerbated by supply chain disruptions, rose significantly. Several contacts reported that costs of freight and construction materials increased multiple times over the last year. Pricing power was strong, though contract negotiations were resulting in shorter terms. Most contacts expect cost pressures to ease steadily over 2022 but remain above pre-pandemic levels. The Atlanta Fed's Business Inflation Expectations survey showed year-over-year unit costs were relatively unchanged in November at 3.6 percent. Year-ahead expectations increased to 3.3 percent in November, up from 3.1 percent in October. Both measures have increased sharply over the last nine months” 

In other matters, the bank found strength in several parts of the regional economy.

Housing and Construction. “Although still strong, housing demand moderated further from the record highs experienced over the past year. Nonetheless, the recent uptick in mortgage interest rates led to an improvement in residential sales, spurred by homebuyers' expectations that interest rates will rise further. On a year-over-year basis, home prices increased sharply in markets like Atlanta, Nashville, and central and south Florida.” 

Manufacturing. “District manufacturers continued to report healthy demand over the reporting period, with several noting record sales. Lead times for components were extended as supply chain interruptions persisted, hampering production for some firms. Most manufacturers anticipate stronger sales over the next 6-12 months; however, lingering labor shortages, rising input costs, and disrupted supply chains could challenge firms' ability to meet this demand.” 

Transportation. “Transportation activity remained robust over the reporting period. District ports reported continued growth in container volumes, noting that customers were buying safety stocks of inventories, citing a "just in case, rather than just in time" approach. However, containers were slow to move off port due to a lack of chassis and trucks.” 

Banking and finance. “District banking activity remained steady. Financial institutions experienced stronger consumer and residential mortgage loan growth, and improved CRE loan demand. Although margin pressures remained due to the low interest rate environment, interest income rose as loan demand strengthened. Deposit levels were stable and remained elevated. Asset quality was unchanged with loan losses and net charge-offs still near historical lows." 

Agriculture. “Agricultural conditions remained mixed. Most of the District remained drought free. Agriculture producers indicated supply chain issues and labor scarcity are putting pressure on margins. On a year-over-year basis, production forecasts for the District's corn and soybean crops were up while rice, peanuts, cotton, and sugarcane forecasts were down. The USDA reported year-over-year prices paid to farmers in September were up for corn, cotton, rice, soybeans, cattle, broilers, eggs, and milk.” 

Beige book reports for all the Federal Reserve banks are available here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Atlanta area consumer prices rise 7.9% over the year; gasoline prices soar 55.7%

 CPI-U-Atlanta

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA, metropolitan area (CPI-U-Atlanta) increased 1.5% for the two months ending in October before seasonal adjustment according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the 12 months ending in October, the CPI-U Atlanta index rose 7.9%. 

Over the two-month period, food prices in the Atlanta area increased 1.3%, while energy prices rose 3.3%. The index for all items excluding food and energy moved up by 1.3%. Over the 12 months ending in October, food prices increased 2.4% and energy prices rose 28.2%. The index for all items excluding food and energy moved up by 7.0%. 

The 7.9% increase in the all-items cost-of-living index for the Atlanta area was the largest 12-month increase for any October since October 1981 and was the largest increase recorded for any 12-month period since June 1982, when prices for the Atlanta area rose by 8.1%. 

Index components 

Cost-of-living indexes for food and beverages, housing, and transportation in the Atlanta area all rose significantly in the two months ending in October. 

Food and beverages costs increased 1.3% over the two months ending in October. Costs for food at home rose by 1.5%, while costs for food away from home were up by 1.1%. For the 12 months ending in October the food and beverages index moved up by 2.4% as costs for food at home increased 2.3% and costs for food away from home rose by 2.4%. 

Housing costs increased 1.7% over the two-month period. Costs for shelter rose 1.6%, while fuels and utilities costs rose 1.5%. Within the utilities index, electricity costs were unchanged over the previous two months. Since October 2020, housing costs in the Atlanta area have risen 6.0%, as the costs of shelter rose 6.7%, and fuels and utilities costs rose 5.1%. Electricity costs in the Atlanta area have risen 1.4% since last October. 

Apparel costs increased 0.4% over two months, while the price index rose 11.0% for the twelve months ending in October. 

Transportation costs rose by 3.0% over the past two months. Prices for used cars and trucks declined by 0.8%, while gasoline costs increased 4.7%. Over the past year, transportation costs have increased 21.3% in the Atlanta area with costs for used cars and trucks rising by 26.2%, while gasoline costs increased 55.7%. 

Medical care costs rose by 0.5% in the two months ending in October. For the past 12 months, the medical care index has increased 2.4%. 

Recreation costs declined 0.9% in the two months ending in October. Over the past year, recreation costs have risen 8.0%. 

Education and communication costs dropped 0.6 percent over the past two months. Over the past year, education and communication costs rose 4.0%.

Other goods and services costs rose 2.1% in the two months ending in October. Over the past year, they have increased by 6.8%. 

Comparison with the nation 

The Consumer Price Index for Atlanta rose by 1.5% for the two months ending in October compared to a 1.1% increase for the nation. Food costs in the Atlanta area increased by 1.3% compared to 1.8% nationally, while energy costs rose by 3.3% compared to 3.5% for the nation. The index for all items excluding food and energy rose by 7.0% in the Atlanta area compared to 0.8% for the nation. 

Over the 12 months ending in October, the all-items index for the Atlanta area increased 7.9%, while nationally, prices rose 6.2%. Food costs in the Atlanta area increased by 2.4%, while they rose 5.3% nationally. For Atlanta, energy prices moved up 28.2% compared to 30.0% for the nation. The index for all items excluding food and energy rose by 7.0% for Atlanta and 4.6% nationally. 

Because the Atlanta area has a smaller sample than the nation as a whole, the indexes are subject to greater variance than at the national level. As BLS points out, variance is a measure of the uncertainty caused by the use of a sample of retail prices, instead of the complete universe of retail prices. Users should exercise caution when using CPI estimates to make inferences about index changes for relatively short time periods, for individual goods and services, or for local areas. The standard errors of those estimates may be on the same order of magnitude as the estimates themselves; and, thus, few inferences about them are reliable. 

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.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Inflation in Atlanta advances: Consumer prices rise 1.8 percent over 2 months, 6.7 percent over the year

 

Consumer prices in the Atlanta metro area advanced 1.8 percent in the two months ending in June 2021, according to new information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The change was the largest two-month increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell since June 2015. 

Food prices in the Atlanta area rose 1.4 percent, and energy prices increased 4.2 percent between April and June. The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.6 percent over the two-month period. 

Over the past 12 months, the rate of inflation in the Atlanta area was 6.7 percent, the largest 12-month increase since BLS began reporting bi-monthly data for the Atlanta CPI-U in 1999. Food prices rose 1.4 percent over the year, while energy prices increased 27.5 percent. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 5.8 percent. 

12-month inflation rates for selected major indexes 

Costs for food and beverages increased 1.7 percent, as prices for food at home rose 0.1 percent over the 12 months, while costs for food away from home increased 2.8 percent. 

Housing costs rose 4.1 percent with residential rents rising by 4.4 percent, and owners’ equivalent of rent costs increasing 3.9 percent. Costs for fuels and utilities were up 3.2 percent over the year, although electricity costs rose at a slower rate of 1.8 percent. 

Transportation costs increased 23.9 percent, as gasoline costs rose 59.3 percent over the year. Costs for new and used motor vehicles increased 23 percent. Excluding new vehicles, the cost for used cars and trucks was up 44.1 percent. 

Prices for medical care rose 0.3 percent for the 12 months ending in June, the lowest percentage increase of any of the major indexes. 

Looking at inflation over 24 months 

Disruption to consumers and businesses due to Covid-19 restrictions and shutdowns in 2020 appeared to have resulted in a significant decline in inflation rates as consumers cut back on their purchases. For example, the rate of inflation for the 12 months ending in June 2020 was 0.9 percent, a drop from the 1.1 percent increase recorded for the 12 months ending in June 2019. As a result, some of the inflation appearing currently is a catch-up of prices as business activity increases in 2021. 

One way of approaching this decline and then advance of prices is to take the measurement over two years, rather than a single year. For the two years ending in June 2021, the CPI-U for all items advanced 7.6 percent, or 3.8 percent each year over the past two years, a rate which is higher but still closer to the 12-month inflation rates appearing in 2017 for the Atlanta area. 

Using the same formula, the increase in inflation for all items less food and energy rose 8 percent over the past 24 months, or 4 percent each year. 

With the largest slowdowns of inflation occurring in the first half of 2020, the test of whether higher inflation rates are becoming embedded in the economy will come in future months as consumer prices reflect the gradual reopening of the economy that began in the fall of 2020. 

If the two-month increases remain at or above the 1.6 percent rates recorded for the Atlanta area in February and April 2021, then there will be more justification to be concerned over lingering inflation and its related problems. 

About the CPI for Atlanta 

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell measures a fixed market basket of goods and services for all urban consumers in the Atlanta statistical area. 

The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA, Core Based Statistical Area is comprised of Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Jasper, Lamar, Meriwether, Morgan, Newton, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Rockdale, Spalding, and Walton counties in Georgia.

For additional information, contact the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Southeast Information Office.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Consumer Price Index for Atlanta – December 2020

 


The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area rose 1.6 percent for the 12 months ending in December, according to information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This compares to a 1.4 percent increase in consumer prices nationwide.

The 12-month increase of consumer prices in the Atlanta area in 2020 was less than half of the 3.3 percent rise recorded for the area in 2019.

Food costs in the Atlanta area rose 3.7 percent over the year, while costs for energy declined 5.9 percent. The index for all items less food and energy increased 2.0 percent in 2020 compared to a 2.8 percent increase recorded in 2019.

Atlanta area price indexes

Costs for food and beverages increased 3.0 percent over the 12 months ending in December 2020. Costs for food at home increased 4.6 percent, while costs for food away from home rose 2.8 percent. This was a reversal from the changes recorded in 2019 when food at home costs rose 3.1 percent, while food away from home increased 4.0 percent.

Housing costs rose 2.6 percent as costs for shelter increased 2.2 percent, while costs for fuels and utilities rose 3.7 percent. Within the fuels and utilities category, electricity costs increased 4.0 percent, less than half of the 10.8 percent increase recorded for 2019. Costs for household furnishings and operations increased 4.7 percent in 2020.

Transportation costs declined 1.6 percent over the year, primarily due to a 16.2 percent drop in the cost of gasoline. Prices for new vehicles rose 7.9 percent, while prices for used cars and trucks increased 9.2 percent.

Medical care costs dropped 1.0 percent in 2020, a sharp reversal from the 11.6 percent increase recorded in 2019. The index for all items less medical care rose by 1.9 percent over the year.

Costs for apparel rose by 3.0 percent, recreation costs increased 2.7 percent, and costs for education and communication increased 2.1 percent in 2020.


The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in prices paid for consumers of goods and services. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., is based on the expenditures of residents of the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area and includes professionals, the self-employed, the poor, the unemployed, and retired people, as well as urban wage earners and clerical workers.

The CPI is a statistical estimate that is subject to sampling error because it is based upon a sample of retail prices and not a complete universe of all prices. BLS calculates and publishes estimates for the CPI-U-Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga., as a 2-month, 6-month, and 12-month percent change. CPI indexes for the Atlanta area are not seasonally adjusted.

Information on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted collection of the CPI is available at Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic and Response on the Consumer Price Index : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov).  Additional information on the Consumer Price Index program is available at CPI Home : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov).


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Atlanta area prices rise 3.3% and continue to grow faster than the United States


Atlanta’s employment is rising faster than for the nation, but the metro area’s cost of living is also increasing faster than for the United States.

Consumer prices in the Atlanta metropolitan area rose by 3.3% in 2019 compared to the nation’s inflation rate of 2.3%, according to information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Over the past 5 years, prices in Atlanta have increased by 12.4% compared to a 9.4% increase nationally.

Excluding food and energy costs, the area’s core inflation rate grew by 2.8% as compared to the nation’s 2.3% consistent with the area’s more rapid increase in the cost of living as compared to the nation.

Since 2014, prices in the Atlanta area, excluding food and energy, have risen by 14.9%, while core inflation at the national level has increased nearly 11%.

Medical costs in the Atlanta area rose 11.6% in the past year, the highest calendar year rate of increase since 2002. Over the past 5 years, medical costs in Atlanta have increased 21.6%.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


In comparison, medical care costs for the nation rose 4.6% in 2019 and have risen 15.9% since 2014.


While housing costs are traditionally seen as lower in the Atlanta area than the nation, the difference between housing costs in Atlanta are growing closer to the national average.

In 2019, housing costs rose 4.3% in Atlanta as compared to 2.6% for the U.S. Over the past 5 years, housing costs for Atlanta have increased 20.9%, while housing costs nationwide rose 14.3%.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Costs for shelter (rent and home ownership costs) rose 4.7% over the year in the Atlanta area, while costs for household fuels and utilities increased 4.3%.

After declining over the previous four years, the cost for electricity in the Atlanta metro area rose 10.8% in 2019.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Costs for transportation grew slower in the Atlanta metro area than the nation, rising 0.6% last year as opposed to a 1.9% rise nationally.

Over the past 5 years, transportation costs have risen 5.4% in Atlanta and have risen 4.4% nationally.

In contrast, costs for recreation fell in the Atlanta area even as rising nationwide. Recreation costs in the metro area dropped 2.7% last year while rising 1.5% nationwide.

Over the past 5 years, recreation costs in Atlanta have declined 3.9% while rising 5.8% nationally.