AIER’s Everyday Price Index (EPI) is designed to reflect price changes felt by Americans on a day-to-day basis. AIER is adjusting the methodology of computing the EPI to more accurately account for the spending patterns of American consumers. The improved EPI should better reflect the actual price pressures felt by people in their everyday purchases.
Everyday Price Index
The Everyday Price Index (EPI) increased 0.4 percent from March to April, a larger jump than the 0.3 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Both indexes were led higher by food and energy costs. Food away from home increased 0.3 percent making dining out more expensive. Consumers could not avoid higher food prices even by grocery shopping. Food at home increased 0.5 percent with meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (+1.6 percent), fruits and vegetables (+0.5 percent) and bread (+1.8 percent), leading grocery bills higher. On the energy side, motor fuel increased 3.5 percent but household fuels and utilities decreased 1.9 percent as warmer weather finally arrived.
The March Everyday Price Index (EPI) increased 1.4 percent, a much larger jump than the 0.2 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Both indices were led higher by Food and Energy costs. Within Foods, Meats (+1.2 percent), Dairy (+1.0 percent), and Fresh Fruits (+3.1 percent) drove grocery bills higher while the price of dining out also increased (+0.3 percent). On the Energy side, a 5.0 percent increase in Motor Fuel further strained daily budgets.
The February Everyday Price Index (EPI) increased 0.5 percent, in contrast to a 0.4 increase in the not seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The EPI measures the prices of goods and services purchased on a frequent basis. Therefore, the EPI reflects the day-to-day impact on consumer budgets.
The January Everyday Price Index (EPI) ticked down 0.1 percent in contrast to a slight uptick in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The difference between the EPI and CPI came from a 0.3 percent increase in housing, a component that is not included in the EPI. Housing is excluded from the EPI because purchases are infrequent and prices are contractually fixed.
The Everyday Price Index (EPI) increased 0.2 percent for December in response to record low temperatures across the country. The EPI was led higher by a 0.3 percent increase in household fuels and utilities and by a 0.6 percent increase in motor fuel. On the other hand, the Consumer Price Index increased 0.3 percent led higher by a rebound in housing.
A 3.2 percent decline in motor fuel prices, representing the fifth consecutive month of declines, led the Everyday Price Index (EPI) down by 0.8 percent in November, compared with an unchanged figure for the broader Consumer Price Index (CPI).
A 0.7 percent decline in energy prices was the primary cause of a 1.3 percent decline in the Everyday Price Index (EPI) for October, far outpacing the 0.1 percent decrease in the seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index for the same period. Gasoline, one of the most frequent purchases of many households, fell 2.9 percent for the month, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics index.
The delayed release of the consumer price data for September shows that, while the overall consumer prices rose a bit in September, the everyday prices for products people buy frequently dipped slightly. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, the broadest index that includes all consumer products and services, increased 0.2 percent in September. In contrast, AIER’s Everyday Price Index, which covers prices of frequently purchased consumer items, fell 0.2 percent in September. This makes the second month in a row that EPI has declined; in August it fell 0.05 percent.
The federal government shutdown caused a delay in the release of inflation data (consumer expenditure survey data) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers we report this month were estimated by AIER by applying statistical modeling to historical data. According to our model, the Everyday Price Index rose by an estimated 0.5 percent in September, following a 0.1 percent drop in August. The increase was driven largely by basic consumer products.
Driven mainly by moderating international food and energy prices, everyday prices were tame in the most recent reading. AIER’s Everyday Price Index (EPI) edged up just 0.1 percent in July following increases of 0.3 and 0.5 percent in May and June. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the government’s broader measure of prices, climbed 0.2 percent last month on a seasonally adjusted basis. (The EPI is not seasonally adjusted.)
Warmer weather in May brought an increase in the prices of frequently purchased goods and services. AIER’s Everyday Price Index rose 0.3 percent after falling 0.8 percent in April. The Consumer Price Index, the government’s broader measure of prices, climbed 0.1 percent last month on a seasonally adjusted basis. (See Charts 1 and 2 for long-term and month-by-month comparisons of the EPI and CPI.)