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April CPI breakdown: Where are prices still rising the fastest?

Inflation fell slightly in April, but a spike in the cost of rent and gasoline kept prices painfully high for millions of Americans.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the consumer price index (CPI), a broad measure of how much everyday goods like gasoline, groceries and rent cost, rose 0.3% in April from the previous month. Economists expected to see a 0.4% monthly increase. Prices climbed 3.4% from the same time last year, down from the 3.5% reading in March.

“We’ve been saying for a long time now that inflation is remaining stubbornly elevated, and this report provides additional evidence that consumers are increasingly pessimistic that inflation is coming down soon,” said Lisa Sturtevant, Bright MLS chief economist. “While consumers are facing higher prices at the pump, high housing costs also continue to be a main driver of the overall inflation numbers.”

Here is a breakdown of where Americans are seeing prices rising and falling the fastest as they continue to wrestle with sticker shock.

INFLATION INCREASES 3.4% IN APRIL AS PRICES REMAIN ELEVATED

Rent

Housing costs were once again one of the biggest drivers of inflation last month. Rent costs rose 0.4% for the month and are up 5.6% from the same time last year. 

Rent sign

A “for rent” sign is posted in front of a home in Miami on Dec. 12, 2023. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Rising rents are concerning because higher housing costs most directly and acutely affect household budgets. Another data point that measures how much homeowners would pay in equivalent rent if they had not bought their home also climbed by 0.4% from the previous month.

“The shelter component of the CPI has come down since its 2023 peak, with shelter inflation coming in at 5.5% in April,” Sturtevant said. “But unfortunately, there is evidence that rents are going to be on the rise in the second half of this year.”

JAMIE DIMON WARNS INFLATION, INTEREST RATES MAY REMAIN ELEVATED

Food

Food has been one of the most visceral reminders of inflation for Americans, but households finally got some reprieve in April.

The cost of groceries fell 0.2% last month, although they advanced 1.1% from the same time last year. Additionally, when compared with January 2021, before the inflation crisis began, grocery prices are up more than 21%.

A worker stocks shelves in Washington, DC

A view of a grocery store in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 14, 2024. (Photo by Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu via Getty Image / Getty Images)

The cost of eggs plummeted 7.3% in April. Consumers also paid less for bread (-0.2%), chicken (-0.8%), milk (-0.8%), fresh fruits (-1.7%), fresh vegetables (-0.6%), peanut butter (-1.1%) and coffee (-0.6%).

However, the price of other basics still rose last month, including cereal (2.2%), flour (3.2%), beef and veal (0.1%), ham (1.8%) and fish and seafood (0.3%).

AMERICANS ARE CARRYING A RECORD AMOUNT OF HOUSEHOLD DEBT

Energy

Energy prices jumped in April for the third straight month, adding to the financial pressure that many families are already enduring. Prices rose 1.1% during the month, including a 2.8% increase in gasoline.

Amoco gas station in Washington, DC

An Amoco gas station in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 28, 2023. (Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The price of propane, kerosene and firewood rose 2.2% in April, and fuel oil inched 0.9% higher.

Cars

There was some good news for Americans looking to buy a car in April.

The cost of used vehicles – which were a major component of the inflation spike in 2022 – fell 1.4% last month and is down 6.9% year over year. 

New car and truck prices also inched lower in April, declining 0.4%. Prices are down 0.4% from the same time last year.

However, there is another problem for car owners: rising insurance costs. Auto insurance jumped 1.8% in April, after rising the previous five months. On an annual basis, prices are up a stunning 22.6%.

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Travel and Transportation

A United Airlines plane takes off at San Francisco International Airport

A United Airlines plane takes off at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, on June 21, 2023.  ((Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Airline tickets fell again in April, sliding 0.8%.

The cost of tickets is down about 5.8% when compared with last year, according to the data.

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