Energy prices soared in January, rising 3.9 percent and accounting for more than half of the overall increase. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the January jump was the largest monthly advance since a 0.6 percent rise in March 2000. The CPI rose 0.2 percent in December. For the 12-month period ended in January, the CPI increased 3.7 percent.
Reuters reported that the numbers caught analysts by surprise yesterday. "The CPI report is a lot worse than we were expecting. With the core being up three-tenths and the headline being up six-tenths, it's definitely going to get the Federal Reserve looking at inflation again," said Drew Matus, economist at Lehman Brothers in New York. The Federal Reserve is scheduled to meet again in a month.
The CPI is a measure of the average change in prices over time in a market basket of goods and services. The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics prepares the measure on a monthly basis.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site
Federal Reserve Web site
Consumer Price Index (CPI), the primary guage for inflation in the United States, increased 0.6 percent in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.