JUNE 2009

The Consumer Price Index for the Midwest rose for the sixth consecutive month, increasing 1.1 percent in June, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. According to Regional Commissioner Jay A. Mousa, rising energy costs, driven by higher prices for motor fuel, accounted for nearly all of the upward movement in the index. Despite the recent monthly increases, the all items index declined 1.7 percent since June 2008—its seventh consecutive over-the-year decrease.

Energy prices, which include prices for motor fuel and household fuels, were 11.8 percent higher over the month, but 26.0 percent lower than in June 2008. The special aggregate index for all items less energy was unchanged over the month and up 1.8 percent over the year. Excluding the impact of food and energy prices, the Midwest CPI registered little movement over the month, but was 1.6 percent higher than one year ago.

Among the eight major expenditure categories, transportation accounted for about 60 percent of the monthly movement and had the greatest impact on the June 2009 Midwest CPI. Prices rose 4.7 percent, the largest one-month advance since monthly publication began in 1987. Motor fuel prices have increased each month in 2009 and jumped 17.4 percent in June, the largest one-month increase since September 2001. Despite the recent increases, prices for motor fuel were 32.7 percent lower than one year ago. Among the other components of the transportation index, prices for new vehicles rose 0.5 percent in June after declining for two consecutive months, and used cars and trucks’ prices advanced 1.3 percent. Prices for new vehicles were little changed from one year ago while prices for used cars and trucks were down 9.3 percent. Overall, the transportation index fell 12.9 percent since June 2008.

The housing index was the second largest contributor to the upward movement of the June all items index, accounting for approximately 30 percent of the movement. Reflecting rising costs for household fuels, the housing index increased 1.0 percent over the month. The household energy index advanced 6.2 percent as electricity prices rose 8.8 percent and utility (piped) gas service costs increased 1.1 percent. Electricity prices typically rise in June, reflecting a shift to seasonal rate schedules. The 1.1 percent upturn in utility (piped) gas service costs followed ten consecutive months of declining prices. Shelter costs increased 0.4 percent while prices for household furnishings and operations were unchanged over the month. Despite the over-the-month advance, housing costs were down 1.4 percent from June 2008, largely attributable to a 16.6 percent decline in prices for household energy. From June 2008 to June 2009, utility (piped) gas service costs fell 39.8 percent, the largest over-the-year decline since publication began in 1978, and more than offset a 3.8-percent increase in prices for electricity. Over the year, costs for shelter rose 0.7 percent and prices for household furnishings and operations were 2.0 percent higher.

Partially offsetting the upward movement in the transportation and housing indexes, the apparel index declined in June 2009 and was responsible for around 8 percent of the movement in the all items index. Apparel prices typically decline in June as retailers continue to discount summer merchandise. Prices were down 2.7 percent over the month, but were still 2.1 percent higher than in June 2008.

The remaining five major expenditure categories—medical care, other goods and services, food and beverages, education and communication, and recreation—each changed by 0.2 percent or less and had little impact on the June 2009 Midwest CPI, together accounting for about 3.0 percent of the movement in the overall index. Over the year, all five of these major expenditure categories registered price increases. From June 2008 to June 2009, costs for medical care rose 4.0 percent, other goods and services, 7.6 percent, and food and beverages, 2.6 percent. Prices for education and communication advanced 2.7 percent and recreation costs increased 1.3 percent over the year.

The Midwest Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) stood at 205.350 in June 2009. A typical market basket of goods and services that cost $100.00 in the 1982-84 base period cost $205.35 in June 2009. Because regional CPI data are not adjusted for seasonal price variation, consumers and businesses should be cautious in drawing conclusions about long-term retail price trends from short-term changes in the regional indexes.