Consumers’ wallets were lighter last month as prices increased, driven by gasoline price hikes.
The Labor Department announced on Friday that its Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.6% in August, the largest rise since June 2009, but in line with economists’ expectations, Bloomberg noted.
Most of that increase — 80% — was attributed to a sharp rise in gasoline prices last month. The price of energy gained 5.6% compared to July, driven by a 9% jump in gas prices, and fuel oil which climbed by 4.6%. Food prices edged up just 0.2% from July.
Excluding food and fuel costs, the “core” CPI inched up just 0.1%. That was lower than the 0.2% increase forecast by economists.
Adjusting for price changes, Americans’ hourly earnings dipped 0.7% last month. That, too, was the largest decline since June 2009. Real wages remained flat compared to the same time last year.
Overall, consumer prices have increased 1.7%, and the core CPI has jumped 1.9%, during the year ending in August.
Yesterday, the government released its Producer Price Index (PPI), showing that wholesale prices rose 1.7% last month, higher than the 1.2% gain anticipated by economists. The rise in producer prices was also the biggest jump in three years.