And as far as consumer prices go here at home …
Although the activities should never be attempted simultaneously, the past two months have been relatively good for people who drive and for people who drink.
While overall prices in the Tacoma-Bremerton-Seattle area were up 0.8 percent in May and June, the cost of alcoholic beverages fell 0.8 percent and gasoline was down 1.4 percent.
So said the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its regular report, issued Friday.
On an annual basis, overall prices were up 3.2 percent, the Bureau said. This is the highest annualized level of inflation since October 2008, when prices rose 3.4 percent. Since then, and as the recession deepened, prices were down as much as 0.5 percent , in June 2010, and up as much as 2.1 percent, as registered last month.
Following a recessionary period, Inflation can be (but is not necessarily) an indication of an improving economy.
In the latest two-month period, grocery prices bagged an increase of 2.7 percent while restaurant food was up 0.8 percent.
The volatile apparel sector zipped an increase of 3.3 percent – the highest single-sector increase for the period – and recreation jumped 0.7 percent.
The cost of medical care was unchanged and the cost of education and communication marked a decline of 0.2 percent.
Overall housing prices were up 0.6 percent; electricity powered an increase of 1.0 percent; and rents rose 0.5 percent, serving to increase the previously recorded annual disinflationary rate to a minus-1.3 percent from June to June.
Overall gasoline prices, while up 30.9 percent for the twelve-month period, fell 1.4 percent over the two months and were down an additional 3.3 percent in the month of June alone.