January’s Jump in Core Inflation Largest in 12 Months, as Cost of Food and Shelter Spike

Craig Bannister | February 13, 2024
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January’s increase in consumer prices exceeded expectations, driven by a spike in the cost of food and shelter, the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals.

Both the 0.3% seasonally-adjusted monthly increase and the 12 month 3.1% increase came in higher than economists’ expectations of 0.2% and 2.9%, respectively.

January’s 0.3% month-to-month increase is the highest since last September’s 0.4% rise, as the cost of shelter contributed more than two-thirds of the all-items increase:

  • Shelter increased 0.6% (up from 0.4% in December)
  • The index for owners' equivalent rent rose 0.6% over the month
  • Rent increased 0.4%
  • The lodging-away-from-home index increased 1.8%


The cost of food rose at the fastest monthly rate in a year:

  • Up 0.4% in January (vs. 0.2% in December)
  • The largest percent increase since January 2023 (0.5%)
  • The food-at-home index increased 0.4%
  • The food-away-from-home index rose 0.5%


The seasonally-adjusted cost of energy services jumped 1.4%, from December’s 0.3% monthly increase. Electricity rose 1.2%, double December’s 0.6% rise. Utility (piped) gas services rose 2.0%, after falling 0.6% in December. The cost of transportation services increased 1.0%, following a mere 0.1% rise in December.

“Core” inflation (all items less food and energy) rose 0.4% in January - the largest monthly increase since April 2023 (0.4%).

Core Inflation
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Compared to a year earlier, January’s all-items price index is up 3.1%, while the core index is 3.9% higher (vs. January 2023, not seasonally adjusted).

Notable cost increases over the past 12 months include:

  • Shelter up 6.0%
  • Services, less energy services up 5.4%
  • Transportation Services up 9.5%
  • Electricity up 3.8%
  • Food up 2.6%


The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.