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Source: FRED (Index: 1982-1984=100); Chart: Axios Visuals

A new red flag showed up in Wednesday’s Consumer Price Index: The amount that Americans pay for shelter rose sharply in September.

Why it matters: Rent is a big-ticket item — it’s the single largest monthly expense for many people. And when rent rises, it tends to be somewhat sticky.

  • “We think [the cost of shelter] will play a more pronounced role in determining inflation and the shaping of inflation expectations going forward,” Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US, wrote in a research note.

Details: Rent at primary residences grew 0.5% last month, the largest monthly increase since 2001.

  • The cost of shelter overall, which includes rent and “owner equivalent rent” for homeowners (up 0.4%), makes up 32% of the CPI index — so rises here carry weight.
  • Over the last 12 months, shelter is up “only” 3.2%, which is more than historical inflation averages — but still lower than the current headline 5.4% rate.

What they're saying: “While one month does not make a trend, this is an early signal of stronger persistent inflation pressures materializing,” Bank of America analysts wrote of the rent figures, in a report Wednesday.

Context: Rents in some markets may still be making up lost ground from the depths reached last year.

The bottom line: “This might just be an overshoot after a couple of relatively modest increases, but we can’t rule out the idea that the fundamentals — rapid house price gains, more aggressive landlord pricing, low inventory, and faster wage growth — are pushing up the trend,” writes Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Go deeper

23 hours ago - Podcasts

Inflation: A cause for concern?

Inflation: A cause for concern? The global energy crisis is becoming a bigger problem for the economy. The Consumer Price Index — the best way to measure inflation in the U.S. — jumped 5.4 percent compared to last year in September, according to new data released this week. How is the Federal Reserve and the Biden administration reacting to this latest news?

Axios Re:Cap talks with Axios’ chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon who’s been reporting on the latest news.

Oct 15, 2021 - Podcasts

The bad and the good in the latest inflation data

The global energy crisis is causing a whole series of economic headaches, not the least of which is inflation. The Consumer Price Index, the best American measure of inflation, jumped 5.4% in September, compared to last year. That's according to new data out this week.

  • Plus, the fallout of bigotry in the NFL.
  • And, celebrating Latino ingenuity to close Hispanic Heritage Month.

Guests: Axios' Felix Salmon and Kendall Baker, and Telemundo's Marina Franco.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, Alex Sugiura, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Michael Hanf, and David Toledo. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper:

4 mins ago - Technology

Race and technology in America

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The technology industry is famously determined to change the world — but its efforts to diversify its workforce and remove bias from its products haven't changed nearly enough.