Consumer pricing drops in October; Prices still higher over last year

The Midwest Consumer Price Index released Thursday shows overall prices are up 2.2 percent over last year, with gasoline leading the way at more than nine percent.

Posted on Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 15, 2012 at 3:38 p.m.

ELKHART — The Midwest Consumer Price Index dropped overall in October compared to a month earlier, but prices are up 2.2 percent over last year, with gasoline to blame for the biggest part of that jump.

While motor fuels in this region dropped 6.2 percent in October, they were still 9.3 percent higher than in October, 2011, according to numbers released today, Nov. 15, by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On the other hand, household energy costs were down 4.3 percent over the month and down 2.8 percent from this time last year, according to the CPI numbers.

Food and beverages cost 1.6 percent more than last year and 0.4 percent more than last month in the Midwest. Housing costs dropped a bit from September to October, but rose 1.4 percent over the year.

Medical care costs 4.3 percent more than last year, according to the CPI.

In home energy, the normal seasonal trends were evident, according to the BLS office in Chicago.

“Costs for electricity, which typically decline in October reflecting a shift in seasonal rate schedules, were down 6.8 percent. In contrast, utility (piped) gas service turned up 0.3 percent,” according to the office.

While national crude oil inventories increased over the last week, according to numbers released today by the Energy Information Administration, gasoline inventories in the Midwest dropped by more than a million barrels over the week, according to Patrick DeHaan, analyst at GasBuddy.com.

“The drop in the national average has come down a long way in the last month, but the good news may end there. It’s likely that the decreases begin fizzling, and in some areas, increases may be on the horizon,” DeHaan wrote earlier this week.

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