The heroes of inflation

As reported yesterday, the consumer price indices of many goods and services in the USA have been falling or at least not growing since 1991. But the overall price inflation as described by the headline CPI (we use not seasonally adjusted indices) has been growing. What are the heroes of inflation? Two Figures below illustrate the situation

Tobacco and tobacco products are the absolute leader – 847 points in December 2011. This is not a surprise – this price is controlled by the government. The index of hospital and related services is at 641! It is interesting that the BLS includes communication and education in one top-level category. As shown yesterday, communication is a leader of deflation and some of education services have been chasing medical services is the inflation race. The index of tuition, other school fees, and child care has been rocketing.

Among transportation indices, some go down and some grow. The index of motor vehicle insurance has been growing and not is at ~400, with the index of new and used motor vehicles showing no growth since 1991. The index of fruits and vegetables also grows too fast relative to other components of the food index. Motor fuel apparently grows with oil price and the index of primary residence rent leads the housing index.

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