Consumer Inflation Sees Uptick in August amid Big Increase in Gas Prices

Inflation accelerated for a second straight month in August, reversing previous declines as consumers continued to grapple with the rising cost of everyday goods. Prices climbed 3.7% from the same time last year, faster than the 3.2% reading in July

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 0.6% in August from the previous month, in line with estimates. It marked the steepest monthly increase this year, underscoring the challenge in taming high inflation.

Other parts of the report also pointed to a slower retreat for inflation. Core prices, which exclude the more volatile measurements of food and energy, climbed 0.3% and 4.3% annually. Core prices remain more than two times higher than the typical pre-pandemic level.

The spike in headline inflation largely stemmed from a surge in gas prices, which accounted for more than half of the increase last month, the Labor Department said in the report. In total, energy prices climbed 5.6% in August from the previous month, including a 10.6% jump in gas prices.

Other price gains also proved persistent and stubbornly high in August. Shelter costs, which account for about 40% of the core inflation increase, rose 0.3% for the month and are up 7.3% over the past year. Grocery costs rose 0.2% last month and are up 3% compared with the same time last year.