By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.5 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.8 percent in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Wednesday, January 12.
Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 7.0 percent before seasonal adjustment.
Increases in the shelter and used cars and trucks indexes were the most significant contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase.
The food index also contributed, although it increased less than in recent months, rising 0.5 percent in December, BLS officials stated in a release. In December, the energy index declined, ending a long series of increases; it fell 0.4 percent as gasoline, and natural gas indexes decreased.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent in December following a 0.5-percent increase in November.
It marked the sixth time it has increased at least 0.5 percent in the last nine months.
Many viewed the news overall as unfavorable for the Biden-Harris administration, as the quick increases in prices have helped erode consumer confidence and cast doubt over the future of the U.S. economy.
President Joe Biden offered a more positive spin.
“Today’s report, which shows a meaningful reduction in headline inflation over last month, with gas prices and food prices falling, demonstrates that we are making progress in slowing the rate of price increases,” President Biden offered in a statement.
“At the same time, this report underscores that we still have more work to do, with price increases still too high and squeezing family budgets,” the President stated.
Along with the indexes for shelter and used cars and trucks, the indexes for household furnishings and operations, apparel, new vehicles, and medical care increased in December.
According to the report, the all items index rose 7.0 percent for the 12 months ending December, the most significant 12-month increase since June 1982.
The all items less food and energy index rose 5.5 percent, the most considerable 12-month change since the period ending February 1991. The energy index rose 29.3 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 6.3 percent.
“Inflation is a global challenge, appearing in virtually every developed nation as it emerges from the pandemic economic slump,” the President asserted.
“America is fortunate that we have one of the fastest-growing economies—thanks in part to the American Rescue Plan—which enables us to address price increases and maintain strong, sustainable economic growth. That is my goal, and I am focused on reaching it every day.”