Area prices were up 0.2 percent over the past month, up 2.6 percent from a year ago.

Prices in the Northeast Region, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased by 0.2 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that the July increase was primarily due to a 0.3-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index led by higher prices for shelter. The food index rose 0.2 percent while the energy index partially offset the increases and declined 0.6 percent. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the Northeast all items CPI-U index increased 2.6 percent, slightly up from last month but well below the recent peak of 7.6 percent in June 2022.  The July increase was mainly due to a 4.0-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index which—like the over-the-month rise—was led by increases within the shelter index. (See chart 1 and table A.) This is the fifth consecutive month that the 12-month change in the all items index has been lower than the all items less food and energy index. The food index continued moderating, rising only 4.6 percent (down from a peak of 10.3 percent in October), while the energy index decreased 13.6 percent, trending down for the fifth consecutive month after over 2 years of 12-month increases which peaked at 44.2 percent in June 2022. (See table 1.)


In July, the food index was up 0.2 percent as prices for food at home rose at the same rate.(See table 1.) Within food at home, prices for cereals and bakery products were up 0.9 percent after declining 0.3 percent last month. The dairy and related products index rose 1.3 percent, mainly due to increased prices for cheese, ice cream and related products. The fruits and vegetables index increased 0.7 percent as prices for apples and potatoes rose. Two grocery categories had decreased prices: meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (-0.4 percent, down for the sixth consecutive month) and nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials (down 0.7 percent). The food away from home index also rose 0.2 percent over the month—so far in 2023, monthly percent changes in this index have ranged from 0.2 to 0.6 percent.

From July 2022 to July 2023, the food index increased 4.6 percent, the smallest rise since September 2021, led by the food away from home index (up 6.8 percent). Prices for food at home increased 3.4 percent; the index has moderated each month since January 2023 and was well below the recent peak of 12.0 percent last August. Within this grocery category, the other food at home index (which includes products like sweets, fats, and snacks) rose 5.9 percent, also below its recent peak of 14.0 percent in October 2022. The cereals and bakery products index was up 7.7 percent, the smallest increase since January 2022. The only grocery index to decrease was meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (down 2.2 percent, the largest over-the-year decrease since the index began in 2018).


The energy index decreased 0.6 percent in July, down for the fifth month in 2023 after rising 1.5 percent in June. This was due to a 2.8-percent decline in the electricity index and a 1.0-percent decrease in the utility (piped) gas service index. The energy index decline was tempered by higher prices for gasoline, up 0.8 percent over the month, and fuel oil.

Over the year, energy prices were down 13.6 percent as most of the index components declined. The primary cause was the 21.3-percent decrease in the gasoline index, as prices for gasoline were lower than the year before for the sixth consecutive month. The utility (piped) gas service index was down 17.6 percent, comparable to last month’s 17.2-percent decrease, and the fuel oil index also declined. Only the electricity index increased over the year, up 6.1 percent, but well below the recent peak of 23.2 percent in February 2023.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in July, the same as it had been for the previous three months. The July rise was mainly due to the 0.4-percent increase in the shelter index which was dominated by the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index (up 0.7 percent). Also in shelter, the index for rent of primary residence was up 0.5 percent. The education and communication index increased 0.3 percent as prices for tuition, other school fees, and childcare rose 1.0 percent (the largest monthly increase in this index since August 2021). Some indexes declined and tempered the overall rise such as public transportation, lodging away from home (within the shelter index), and apparel (which typically declines every July).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy was up 4.0 percent. Changes for the all items less food and energy index have ranged from 3.8 percent to 5.1 percent so far in 2023. Like the monthly change, higher prices for shelter (up 6.5 percent) made up most of the rise as the owners’ equivalent rent of residences and rent of primary residence indexes were both up 6.7 percent. The medical care index countered the overall increase, down 2.8 percent, marking the fifth consecutive month of accelerating decreases for the index. Within medical care, the medical care services index decreased 3.9 percent while the medical care commodities index was up 2.9 percent.

Article Courtesy of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics