Spices are in season in the U.S. this year, with the seasonally adjusted seasonally Adjusted Food Prices Index climbing to a new high this month.
The index, which tracks food and fuel prices across the country, rose 1.9 percent in January, the highest level since March of this year.
That’s up from a 1.5 percent increase in December.
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service reported Wednesday that the season-adjusted CPI jumped 2.5% in January from a year ago, but that increase wasn’t due to warmer weather.
The seasonally-adjusted index, however, also rose 0.6 percent from December, which was higher than the 1.6% increase reported in December by the USDA.
The seasonally weighted CPI is the sum of two measures: one is a measure of inflation that measures the value of goods and services at prices indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks the cost of goods sold, and the other is a composite measure that measures inflation adjusted to take account of inflationary pressures such as the impact of the Great Recession.
The CPI is expected to grow slightly this year as retailers adjust their prices and consumers adjust their spending patterns, and consumers are likely to continue to spend more in the coming months.
The Consumer Price index has been steadily increasing in recent months, and it jumped 1.7 percent in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The CPI is calculated by subtracting prices from wages and salaries, and is used as the basis for a broad measure of the cost and quality of goods.
The increase in the seasonal index is due to the warmer weather and seasonal adjustment of prices, said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the National Association of Manufacturers.
It also reflects consumer spending that is expected in the months ahead.
The rise in the CPI is also good news for the economy, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
The number of people receiving food stamps has risen in recent years, and a growing number of Americans are choosing to shop at stores that pay more.
The trend is also making food available at lower prices.
The federal government uses a measure called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help offset the cost for low-income families and individuals.
A number of states and cities have adopted policies to lower prices and make food more affordable for people living in poverty.
Food banks, meanwhile, have been a boon for those in need, helping to feed a growing population.
Many have become hubs for people searching for food, and they are filling up shelves as they work to keep up with demand.
More:How to use the Seasonally Adjusted CPI