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Cola Watch 2025: What’s New

Stay up-to-date with the latest cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) on our 2025 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.

The next CPI-W inflation report release will be on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 for the month of February.

The 2025 CPI-W measurement that will be used to determine COLA will be announced on Thursday, October 10, 2024.

2024 COLA Increase

According to the latest September data report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2024 CPI-W resulted in an 3.2 percent COLA increase as announced on Thursday, October 12, 2023. The 3.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 66 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2024. Increased payments to approximately 7.5 million SSI recipients will begin on December 29, 2023. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).

The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $168,600.

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

2025 COLA Increase Watch

  • January CPI-W (302.201) increased over the last 12 months by 2.94%.
  • The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, after rising 0.2 percent in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
  • Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.
  • The index for shelter continued to rise in January, increasing 0.6 percent and contributing over two thirds of the monthly all items increase.
  • The food index increased 0.4 percent in January, as the food at home index increased 0.4 percent and the food away from home index rose 0.5 percent over the month.
  • In contrast, the energy index fell 0.9 percent over the month due in large part to the decline in the gasoline index.
  • The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent in January.
  • Indexes which increased in January include shelter, motor vehicle insurance, and medical care. The index for used cars and trucks and the index for apparel were among those that decreased over the month.
  • The all items index rose 3.1 percent for the 12 months ending January, a smaller increase than the 3.4-percent increase for the 12 months ending December.
  • The all items less food and energy index rose 3.9 percent over the last 12 months, the same increase as for the 12 months ending December.
  • The energy index decreased 4.6 percent for the 12 months ending January, while the food index increased 2.6 percent over the last year.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

COLA Forecast

These factors are expected to impact inflation and COLA in 2025:

  • 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 is falling 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 decreased.
  • Job and wage growth has been slowed.
  • 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 3291.901301.2363.20%
Quarter 4292.183298.9902.33%

2023-2024 Monthly CPI-W

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

Month2023 CPI-W2024 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 total875.702903.707
Average (nearest 0.001)291.901301.236
CPI-W Inflation8.70%3.20%

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 2023Nov. 14, 20238:30 AM
November 2023Dec. 12, 20238:30 AM
December 2023Jan. 11, 20248:30 AM
January 2024Feb. 13, 20248:30 AM
February 2024Mar. 12, 20248:30 AM
March 2024Apr. 10, 20248:30 AM
April 2024May 15, 20248:30 AM
May 2024Jun. 12, 20248:30 AM
June 2024Jul. 11, 20248:30 AM
July 2024Aug. 14, 20248:30 AM
August 2024Sep. 11, 20248:30 AM
September 2024Oct. 10, 20248:30 AM
October 2024Nov. 13, 20248:30 AM
November 2024Dec. 11, 20248:30 AM

History of COLA Increases

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

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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.