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Consumer Price Index: 2021 in review

January 14, 2022

From December 2020 to December 2021, consumer prices for all items rose 7.0 percent, the largest December to December percent change since 1981. Over the year, food prices increased 6.3 percent, a larger percentage increase than the 12-month increase of 3.9 percent in 2020. Food at home prices increased 6.5 percent in 2021, the largest over-the-year increase since 2008.

12-month percent change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, selected items, not seasonally adjusted
Categories Dec 2020 to Dec 2021 Dec 2019 to Dec 2020 Dec 2018 to Dec 2019 Dec 2017 to Dec 2018

Gasoline (all types)

49.6% -15.2% 7.9% -2.1%

Used cars and trucks

37.3 10.0 -0.7 1.4

Energy

29.3 -7.0 3.4 -0.3

Utility (piped) gas service

24.1 4.1 -3.5 2.3

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

12.5 4.6 2.3 -0.4

New vehicles

11.8 2.0 0.1 -0.3

Tobacco and smoking products

9.0 5.1 5.5 3.4

Household furnishings and operations

7.4 3.2 1.0 2.1

All items

7.0 1.4 2.3 1.9

Food at home

6.5 3.9 0.7 0.6

Food

6.3 3.9 1.8 1.6

Electricity

6.3 2.2 -0.4 1.1

Food away from home

6.0 3.9 3.1 2.8

Apparel

5.8 -3.9 -1.2 -0.1

Other food at home

5.6 3.9 0.3 0.2

All items less food and energy

5.5 1.6 2.3 2.2

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials

5.2 4.4 1.0 1.4

Fruits and vegetables

5.0 3.2 -1.3 1.6

Cereals and bakery products

4.8 3.2 0.3 1.7

Physicians' services

4.3 1.7 1.4 0.6

Shelter

4.1 1.8 3.2 3.2

Motor vehicle insurance

4.1 -4.8 0.0 4.6

Personal care

3.4 1.8 1.5 1.8

Hospital services

3.3 3.0 3.0 3.7

Recreation

3.3 0.9 1.5 1.2

Alcoholic beverages

2.3 2.8 0.5 1.8

Medical care

2.2 1.8 4.6 2.0

Education

2.0 1.4 2.1 2.6

Dairy and related products

1.6 4.4 2.4 -0.1

Airline fares

1.4 -18.4 1.7 -2.6

Communication

1.3 2.4 0.7 -1.8

Prescription drugs

0.0 -2.4 3.0 -0.6

Prices for all six of the major grocery store food groups increased from 2020 to 2021. Prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 12.5 percent from 2020 to 2021, almost triple the 4.6 percent rise in 2020. Prices for nonalcoholic beverages rose 5.2 percent from 2020 to 2021, a larger increase than the 4.4-percent advance from 2019 to 2020. Prices for the other food at home group rose 5.6 percent in 2021 after an advance of 3.9 percent increase in 2020. Prices for fruits and vegetables rose 5.0 percent in 2021 after rising 3.2 percent in 2020. Prices for cereals and bakery products rose 4.8 percent in 2021 following a 3.2-percent increase in 2020. Only the prices for dairy and related products increased at a lesser rate in 2021 compared to 2020, rising 1.6 percent in 2021 after rising 4.4 percent in 2020.

Energy prices jumped 29.3 percent in 2021 after declining 7.0 percent in 2020. Gasoline prices were up 49.6 percent after falling 15.2 percent in 2020. Natural gas prices rose 24.1 percent in 2021, much larger than the 4.1-percent increase in 2020. The price of electricity increased 6.3 percent in 2021 after increasing 2.2 percent in 2020.

Medical care prices rose 2.2 percent in 2021, a larger increase than the 1.8-percent advance in 2020. Prescription drug prices were unchanged after falling 2.4 percent in 2020. Prices for hospital services rose 3.3 percent in 2021 after rising 3.0 percent in 2020. Prices for physicians’ services increased 4.3 percent in 2021 after rising 1.7 percent in 2020.

The prices of new vehicles rose 11.8 percent in 2021 after a 2.0-percent increase in 2020. The prices of used cars and trucks increased 37.3 percent after increasing 10.0 percent in 2020. The recent 12-month increase was the largest December to December change in the history of this index.

Shelter prices were up 4.1 percent after rising 1.8 percent in 2020. Owners’ equivalent rent rose 3.8 percent in 2021, compared with 2.2 percent in 2020. Rent of primary residence rose 3.3 percent in 2021, following an increase of 2.3 percent in 2020. Household furnishings and operations prices rose 7.4 percent in 2021 after a 3.2-percent increase in 2020.

Tobacco prices surged 9.0 percent in 2021 after moving up 5.1 percent in 2020.

These data are from the Consumer Price Index program and are not seasonally adjusted. For additional information, see "Consumer Price Index — December 2021." We also have more charts on consumer prices.

 

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Consumer Price Index: 2021 in review at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/consumer-price-index-2021-in-review.htm (visited December 08, 2022).

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