What’s Happening With Inflation in July 2024

By Ellevest Team

As Americans coast-to-coast sweat out a historic heat wave, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported lower inflation numbers for the month of June — clocking in at 3% (compared to 3.3% in May).

​​“This is the inflation report that we’ve been waiting for,” said Neil Dutta, head of economic research at Renaissance Macro. “The important story for the Fed is that this is happening at a time when the unemployment rate has been going up for the last three months, and the trade-offs are shifting.”

In a statement, President Biden said that the report “shows that we are making significant progress fighting inflation.”

But before we get into what this all means for you, let’s talk about what inflation is.  


First: How is inflation measured?

Inflation is the upward creep of the prices of goods and services. It usually happens because the demand for goods and services is rising faster than companies can produce and supply them. That makes them more scarce, which makes them more valuable, which pushes prices up. When wages don’t rise to match, that creates a decrease in purchasing power. (Translation: Things cost more and you’re not making more, so you can’t buy as many things.)

Inflation is often measured using a standard benchmark called the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which you might have heard of. The CPI is calculated by looking at a standard set (“basket”) of goods (food, medical care, clothing, etc) and averaging their change in price over time.

There’s also a measure called “core inflation,” which is basically all that stuff, minus food and energy prices. It can be easier to judge what’s really happening in the economy when you exclude them, because food and energy tend to be more volatile, driven by short-lived factors, and just overall less reflective of economic health.

And the last measure to know about is called Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE). It’s a bit broader than the CPI and weighs some things like health care a bit more heavily. It’s also the measurement that the Federal Reserve considers the most when they make policy decisions.

What drove June 2024’s inflation numbers?

Rents rose more slowly in June. This shows progress in one of the most important categories in inflation data. The growth rate is the lowest since 2022. It was down from a peak of more than 8% early last year.

News about food prices: They went up a bit in June. This means people will still have to pay a lot for groceries. Fun fact: Egg prices, which began to surge in 2022 and have fluctuated since, rose 3.5% over the month. That follows several months of price declines.

And some good news for summer travelers: travel deflation. Prices for airfares are down amid cooler fuel costs and as airlines compete to fill planes; meanwhile, hotels fell 2% on a monthly basis, the biggest decline since late last year.

How should you manage your money right now?

It’s impossible to know what will happen in the future, especially right now, but here are some things to think about.

Don’t keep more than you need to in cash

This is something we say anyway — but when inflation is high, cash gets less valuable, so the advice becomes even more urgent. Here’s what we recommend always keeping in cash (as in, in an FDIC-insured bank account):

  • Money to pay your bills

  • Your emergency fund (three to six months’ worth of take-home pay)

  • Savings for short-term goals (things you’ll need money for in the next one to two years)

If you’re the kind of person who tips a little more toward “cautious” on the risk tolerance scale, you could consider adding a bit more to your emergency fund — if things are going to cost more later, your savings might not go quite as far.

But for the rest of your money, we typically recommend investing it.

Shop around for the best interest rates on savings

Higher federal interest rates lead to higher interest rates paid by savings accounts. If you have a large chunk of cash in the bank (like a complete emergency fund, for example), see if you can find a savings account paying more.

Keep investing regularly

If you’re investing for long-term goals (those more than a few years away), we’d probably recommend that you just keep doing what you’re doing. Every period of inflation is different, and in the past, it’s affected different types of investments in different ways (which is, after all, the point of having a diversified portfolio). 

We do know (and as we’ve seen this year) periods of economic uncertainty tend to make the markets nervous, which can lead to volatility. So we recommend using a technique called dollar-cost averaging, which means investing regularly, a little bit at a time, no matter what’s going on in the market. You’ll end up investing when markets are up and down in a way that evens out over time. It takes the timing guesswork out of it.

Plus, we don’t know how long higher inflation will last — there’s always a chance that it could slow sooner than experts expect. Either way, the longer your timeline, the less inflation is likely to impact your eventual bottom line.

TL;DR: We don’t know how long this period of higher inflation will last. All we can do is try to make the best choices we can with the information we have — and adjust along the way.


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Ellevest Team

Ellevest helps women build and manage their wealth through goal-based investing, financial planning, and wealth management. Our mission is to get more money in the hands of women.