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Friday, August 14, 2009

CPI Flat, BLS Rent Measures Decline Slightly

by Calculated Risk on 8/14/2009 08:34:00 AM

From the BLS: Consumer Price Index Summary

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI-U was unchanged in July following a 0.7 percent increase in June ... The index for all items less food and energy [Core] rose 0.1 percent in July following a 0.2 percent increase in June.
The index for shelter fell 0.2 percent and the household energy index declined 0.3 percent. Within the shelter group, the indexes for rent and owners' equivalent rent were both unchanged in July after rising 0.1 percent in June. The index for lodging away from home turned down in July, falling 2.1 percent after increasing 0.3 percent in June, and has fallen 8.9 percent over the past 12 months.
Not only is the index for lodging off sharply, but the BLS measures for rent declined slightly (rounded to flat). Owners' equivalent rent (OER) is the largest component of CPI, and even though rents have been falling in most areas, OER was still increasing. The decline in July OER was very small, but it is a start.

Over the last 12 months, CPI has fallen 2.1 percent, the largest 12 month decline since 1950.