Increasing healthcare, transportation, housing and food costs put pressure on the island’s Consumer Price Index, which jumped by 2.5 percent year-over-year in April, but seemed to show slight improvement in comparison to the prior month.
According to data released by the Labor Department this week, the CPI reached 113.7 points last month, up from the 111.0 points reported in April 2010. However, last month’s results reflected a 0.5 percent improvement against the 113.1 points on record for March 2011.
By definition, a CPI measures changes in the price level of consumer goods and services purchased by households. A CPI’s annual percentage change is used as a measure of inflation and can point to the real value of wages, salaries, and pensions of any given economy.
According to the most recent CPI report, the dollar’s buying power is currently at .88 cents, down 12 percent from when it was worth its full value ahead of the start of the local recession in 2006.
Month-over-month, local transportation costs showed a 1.4 percent increase — which the Labor Department related to an increase in airfares — while housing, and food and beverage costs remained virtually flat at 0.7 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. Entertainment costs also shrank 0.4 percent, which the agency said was due to a drop in the price of compact discs.
But the scenario is entirely different when the results for April are looked at year-over-year. The main groups reflecting increases in their indices were: healthcare, with 5.3 percent; transportation, 4.7 percent; housing, 2.5 percent; food and beverage, 1.9 percent; education and communication, 1.6 percent; and entertainment, 0.7 percent. Meanwhile, the clothing segment showed a 3.4 percent drop.
The next CPI report will be released in June, the Labor Department said.