BLS Reports Tame Inflation As Medical Costs Soar Out Of Sight

The BLS says the CPI rose 0.1% in January. Year-Over-Year the CPI is up 2.5%. Your experience is sure to vary.

Once again the BLS tells us inflation is under control. Once again, close inspection suggests something else.

Let's investigate, starting with the BLS Consumer Price Index Report for January 2020.

  • According to the BLS, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.2 percent in December.
  • The index for shelter accounted for the largest part of the increase in the seasonally adjusted all items index, with the indexes for food and for medical care services also rising. These increases more than offset a decrease in the gasoline index, which fell 1.6 percent in January.
  • The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in January after increasing 0.1 percent in December.
  • The all items index increased 2.5 percent for the 12 months ending January, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending October 2018. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent over the last 12 months, the same 12-month increase as reported in the previous 3 months. The food index rose 1.8 percent over the last 12 months, while the energy index increased 6.2 percent over that period.

CPI Month-Over-Month and Year-Over-Year

(Click on image to enlarge)

​Hooray! Inflation Tame

Hooray, inflation as measured by the BLS is only up 2.3% from a year ago, the same as December.

Month-over-month, the CPI rose only 0.1% vs the expected 0.2%.

But does your basket match this?

CPI Percentage Weights

(Click on image to enlarge)

It's when you dig into details you find disturbing trends, like the lead chart and this.

Medical Care Costs Year-Over-Year

(Click on image to enlarge)

Medical Insurance Quotes

I posted these quotes last month, but it's worth another look after this gloomy report.

I went to NerdWallet for some quotes. My base case was a husband and wife making a combined $100,000, both aged 60, non-smokers, with no dependents.

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