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Cola Watch 2024: What’s New

Stay up-to-date with the latest cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) on our 2024 COLA Watch Increase page. Get monthly updates, an early forecast, and more to keep informed about the changes ahead. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) is used to monitor, measure and adjust cost-of-living benefits for Social Security beneficiaries, federal, state and local retirees, recipients of public assistance plus many more groups of people.

According to the latest August data report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation recorded its most substantial monthly surge of the year, driven by elevated prices in energy and a range of other goods and services, impacting consumers. Inflation is at 3.01% based on the first two months of the COLA measurement period and the Senior Citizens League estimates the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2024 will likely be 3.2%.

The next CPI-W inflation report release will be on Thursday, October 12, 2023 for the month of September.

As announced in October 2022, the 2023 CPI-W resulted in an 8.7 percent COLA increase. The 2024 CPI-W measurement that will be used to determine COLA will be announced on Thursday, October 12, 2023.

COLA Watch: What's New

2024 COLA Increase Watch

  • August CPI-W (301.551) increased over the last 12 months by 2.63%.
  • Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.
  • The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in August, following a 0.2-percent
  • increase in July.
  • The index for gasoline was the largest contributor to the monthly all items increase, accounting for over half of the increase.
  • Also contributing to the August monthly increase was continued advancement in the shelter index, which rose for the 40th consecutive month.
  • The energy index rose 5.6 percent in August as all the major energy component indexes increased. The food index increased 0.2 percent in August, as it did in July.
  • The index for food at home increased 0.2 percent over the month while the index for food away from home rose 0.3 percent in August.

COLA Forecast

Factors expected to impact inflation and COLA:

  • The Senior Citizens League estimates the 2024 CPI will be 3.2%.
  • According to CPI-W, the index that is used to determine COLA, inflation continues to slow.
  • Interest rates are likely to go higher which typically tampers inflation.
  • Consumer spending has fallen this year and is expected to continue to decline based on these factors:
    • Tightness in the labor market is moderating somewhat and wage gains are slowing.
    • Reduced government spending plus stimulus checks and other government benefits are no longer available.
  • The US banking crisis and high interest rates have cooled investments.
  • Shelter costs continue to rise including rents. However, rent growth has slowed considerably and median rents nationally fell year-over-year but it takes months for these changes to show up in the CPI.
  • Car insurance and restaurant prices continue to climb.
  • Energy prices have increased.
  • Job and wage growth has been slowing rapidly.
  • The economy has been more resilient than expected, raising concerns about inflation rebounding.
  • The economy picture is not clear with some believing that we are in a rolling recession that is affecting certain industries or geographies are varying times—different from an official national recession.

2022-2023 Quarterly CPI-W

Here is a quarterly comparison of the CPI versus the same time last year.

Year20222023Year over Year Change
Quarter 1279.472294.8815.51%
Quarter 2288.380298.5023.51%
Quarter 3291.901TBATBA
Quarter 4292.183TBATBA

2022-2023 Monthly CPI-W

Here is a monthly comparison of the CPI versus the same time last year.

Month2022 CPI-W2023 CPI-WYear over Year Change

Official COLA Measurement Months

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) is based on the percentage increase of the CPI-W from the third quarter of the previous year versus the current year’s third quarter (July, August, and September).

Third quarter total875.702TBA
Average (nearest 0.001)291.901TBA
CPI-W Inflation8.70%TBA

Groups Affected by COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustments)

Here are some of the many groups that may be affected by Cost-of-Living Adjustments:

  • Social Security Recipients
  • Retiree Pensions: Such as Calpers (California Public Employees’ Retirement System)
  • Federal Civilian Retirees: Such as Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) & Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Eligibility for Medicare Extra Help and Medicaid
  • Recipients of Public Assistance such as welfare benefits or food assistance
  • Unionized Workers: Some unions negotiate for COLA)
  • Renters: In some areas, rental agreements may include COLAs
  • Retired, Disabled Military Veterans, Veterans Pensions, Survivor Benefits

California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) recipients receive an automatic benefit increase equal to 2% and are not impacted by inflation.

California Consumer Price Index Areas

Many local cost-of-living adjustments are based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s CPI for a specific geographic area, which may vary from the national CPI. For instance, California’s Income Tax Brackets are calculated using a formula called the California Consumer Price Index (CCPI) which uses CPI data from Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, San Diego-Carlsbad, and the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario markets. Many local retiree benefits, public assistance and more utilize local market data to better reflect the impact of inflation on the local community.

Here are the designated market areas for California:

  • Bakersfield
  • Chico
  • El Centro
  • Fresno
  • Hanford
  • Los Angeles
    • Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA
    • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA
  • Madera
  • Merced
  • Modesto
  • Napa
  • Oxnard
  • Redding
  • Riverside
  • Sacramento
  • Salinas
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
    • Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA
    • San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA
    • San Rafael, CA
  • San Jose
  • San Luis Obispo
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Rosa
  • Stockton
  • Vallejo
  • Visalia
  • Yuba City

Consumer Price Index Release Dates

Below is the schedule of CPI release dates:

Reference MonthRelease DateRelease Time
October 2022Nov. 10, 20228:30 AM
November 2022Dec. 13, 20228:30 AM
December 2022Jan. 12, 20238:30 AM
January 2023Feb. 14, 20238:30 AM
February 2023Mar. 14, 20238:30 AM
March 2023Apr. 12, 20238:30 AM
April 2023May 10, 20238:30 AM
May 2023Jun. 13, 20238:30 AM
June 2023Jul. 12, 20238:30 AM
July 2023Aug. 10, 20238:30 AM
August 2023Sep. 13, 20238:30 AM
September 2023Oct. 12, 20238:30 AM
October 2023Nov. 14, 20238:30 AM
November 2023Dec. 12, 20238:30 AM

History of COLA Increases

Prior to 1975, Social Security benefit increases were set by legislation.

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California Down Payment Assistance ProgramsCalifornia Senior Citizen Property Tax Relief

Monique McArthur is a mother of two, writer, and creator of delicious recipes. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all that Orange County has to offer, traveling, shopping, running with her dogs and spending time with family.