U.S. supermarket prices jumped 1% in June, led by continued increases in the cost of dairy and bakery products as well as fats and oils, helping fuel another 1.3% surge in the country's overall cost of living.
Grocery prices have risen 12.2% over the past year despite continued softening in meat prices, according to the monthly Consumer Price Index released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Energy prices jumped 7.5% in June, accounting for half the increase in the overall CPI. Gasoline prices, which have softened somewhat in recent days, increased 11.2% in June.
Noting the recent declines in gas prices and ag markets, President Joe Biden said in a statement that the June CPI was "unacceptably high" but "but also out-of-date."
"Today’s data does not reflect the full impact of nearly 30 days of decreases in gas prices, that have reduced the price at the pump by about 40 cents since mid-June. Those savings are providing important breathing room for American families. And, other commodities like wheat have fallen sharply since this report," he said.
But the latest numbers could have implications for Biden's push to get portions of his Build Back Better plan, including climate-related provisions, through the 50-50 Senate. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., issued a statement Wednesday making clear that inflation remains a major concern for him. “No matter what spending aspirations some in Congress may have, it is clear to anyone who visits a grocery store or a gas station that we cannot add any more fuel to this inflation fire,” he said.
Prices for dairy products surged 1.7% in June and are now up 13.5% over the past year. The cost of bakery products increased 1.8% in June, while prices for fats and oils, including butter, jumped 2.6%. Butter prices were up 4.8% last month, while the cost of margarine jumped 6.8%.
Prices for poultry and eggs have been jolted this year by a major avian influenza outbreak that led to the culling of millions of birds. The price of chicken at the supermarket has risen 18.6% over the past year and was up 1.7% in June. Egg prices are up 33.1% over the year and increased 0.3% last month.
Pork prices are up 9% over the past year but fell 1.6% in June.
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The Biden administration has continued to target major beef processors for blame in its response to the inflation plaguing the U.S. economy. However, beef prices have ceased to be a major driver of food inflation. The cost of beef is up 4.1% since June 2021, a far smaller increase than many other segments, and declined 2.3% in June.
Prices for fruits and vegetables are up 8.1% over the year and rose 0.7% last month.
The price of milk has increased 16.4% over the past year and rose 0.8% in June.
A separate, monthly USDA survey of retail milk prices in major cities shows they averaged $4.41 a gallon nationwide in June, up from $4.33 in May and $3.82 in January. Prices in June ranged as high as $5.76 a gallon in Phoenix and $6.01 in Kansas City.
Republicans continue to argue that Democrats overstimulated the economy.
The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Mike Crapo of Idaho, said the June CPI was a "painful reminder that Americans’ paychecks continue to be strained by the high inflation that was fueled by Democrats’ untargeted and partisan spending spree. As the economy faces runaway inflation and rising odds of a recession and stagflation, raising taxes, killing jobs, smothering wages and imposing price controls makes no sense.”
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