Inflation is back, according to economists. This is due in part to accelerating job growth, new stimulus packages and the rising price of fuel. There is a worry that interest rates will rise, which could curtail spending and derail the housing market with higher mortgage rates. However, for the time being, those problems seem well into the future. The prices of some items Americans buy regularly have jumped, but a few have dropped, according to government numbers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data on price movements across dozens of items each month. The official name of its report is the “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.” The most recent report was for February. One measure of inflation is how much prices for individual items have risen in a month.
Fuel and transportation prices soared in February. The price of fuel oil rose 11% in just one month. The price of car rentals, propane and firewood were each up around 7%. Rising over 6% were the price of ham, video discs and admission to sporting events. There were also increases in other foods, led by margarine, apples and eggs.
At the other end of the spectrum, the prices of some items fell from January to February, a few quite a bit. The price of food served at schools and worksites dropped more than 12%. Those are a service more than an item, though. The item with the price that fell the most was men’s shirts and sweaters, which were down over 5%. Airline ticket prices declined almost as much.
25 Items With Falling Prices
|Food at schools||−13.7%|
|Food at employee sites||−12.2%|
|Men shirts, sweaters||−5.4%|
|Misc. household products||−3.2%|
|Jewelry and watches||−2.9%|
|Men, boys apparel||−2.2%|
|Infant, toddler apparel||−2.0%|
|Other video equipment||−1.8%|
|Fresh whole milk||−1.4%|
|Frozen fruits, vegetables||−1.4%|