Inflation rose more than expected in August as rising shelter and food costs offset a drop in gas prices, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The consumer price index, which tracks a broad swath of goods and services, increased 0.1% for the month and 8.3% over the past year. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, CPI rose 0.6% from July and 6.3% from the same month in 2021. Energy prices fell 5% for the month, led by a 10.6% slide in the gasoline index. However, those declines were offset by increases elsewhere.
Small business sentiment improved in August but remains depressed as business owners face an uncertain economic landscape. Buoyed by marginally better expectations in the near term and a slight reduction in inflation worries, the monthly Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business rose to 91.8 last month from 89.9, although it marked the eighth consecutive month during which optimism fell below the survey’s five-decade average. Business owners reported that inflation remained their most significant impediment, with 29% naming it as their biggest operational challenge, down from 37% in July. Just trailing inflation as the most pressing problem facing small business owners was labor quality, which 26% cited as their top issue, while an additional 10% said labor costs were their top business problem.
Among the 148 major regional housing markets tracked by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, 98 markets have seen home values fall from their 2022 peaks. In 11 markets, the Burns Home Value Index* has already dropped by more than 5%. Simply put: The U.S. home price correction is sharper—and more widespread—than previously thought.