The Labor Department reported that the rising cost of energy products and food drove consumer prices 0.3 percent higher in September and that the annual inflation rate now stands at 3.9 percent, the highest level since September 2008.
Paced by a 2.9 percent rise for gasoline, up 33.2 percent on a year-over-year basis, overall energy prices jumped 2.0 percent last month and are now up 19.3 percent from a year ago.
Food & beverage prices rose 0.4 percent in September and are now 4.5 percent higher than last year at this time while the “food at home” subcategory rose 0.6 percent for the third month in a row, now up a stunning 6.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.
Elsewhere, price increases were more moderate and clothing prices reversed their recent trend by dipping 1.1 percent last month, however, apparel prices are still 3.5 percent higher than a year ago, down from the August year-over-year rate of 4.2 percent that marked a 20-year high.
Amazingly, up until this summer, apparel prices had been 10 percent or more below the highs seen in the mid-1990s, this 15-year trend due largely to the rise in inexpensive imports. However, from April to August of this year, apparel prices have surged more than five percent, cutting this gap almost in half.
Here’s a long-term chart showing this recent dramatic increase:
Americans can now add clothing to two other categories where prices have been rising sharply lately – food and energy – as these indispensable items put more pressure on consumers despite assurances from the central bank that inflation is under control.
by: Tim Iacono