Consumer Price Hikes Cool a Bit in August

After rising 5.4% year over year in July, consumer prices climbed 5.3% in August

The pace of consumer price increases slowed slightly last month, as consumer prices rose 5.3% year over year in August, vs. the 5.4% year-over-year increase recorded in July.

On a month-to-month basis, consumer prices were up 0.3% in August over July after rising 0.5% in July over June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) report. Prices for food at home climbed 0.4% in August from July—a slowdown from month-t0-month increases of 0.7% in July and 0.8% in June.

Looking at the full-year picture, food-at-home prices were up 3.0% over August 2020 levels. Five of six major grocery product groups—all but dairy—saw price increases for the 12 months ended in August, the BLS noted.

Beef continued to lead the way in price hikes: Beef prices in August were up 12.2% year over year, helping drive an 8.0% price increase overall for meat, poultry, fish and eggs. In Friday's Producer Price Index (PPI) report on wholesale prices, the BLS noted that wholesale beef and veal prices were up more than 59% year over year in August. 

Other notable gainers in the August CPI report were eggs, with retail prices up 9.9% year over year, and fats and oils, up 5.5%. Within produce, apple prices were up 5.6% year over year; citrus prices were up 3.9%; and lettuce prices were up 5.2%. Prices for canned vegetables climbed 4.2%.

See also: SNAP Benefits to Increase Oct. 1

Consumers still are seeing prices rise more slowly at the grocery store than at restaurants: Prices are 6.9% higher at fast-food and other limited-service restaurants than they were in August 2020; prices at full-service restaurants are up 4.9%. 



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