Consumer prices in the United States rose sharply in April and the rate of inflation sped up over the last 12 months, a U.S. Labor Department report released Thursday, May 15, 2014, shows.
Gains widened across categories last month with prices stubbornly higher for food, advancing again for energy, and increasing for housing, medical care, transpiration and vehicles, to name a few.
The Consumer Price Index, or CPI, rose 0.3% in April for the biggest increase since June and after rising 0.2% in March.
In the bigger categories surveyed by the U.S. Labor Department, food prices rose 0.4% for a third month in a row and energy prices gained 0.3% following two months of declines. US consumers were hit with sharply higher meat prices last month as they picked up 2.9% for the largest monthly increase since November 2003. Prices at the pump rose 2.3%, the first increase since December.
Stripping food and energy prices, the so-called core inflation rate rose 0.2% for a second month after three consecutive months of 0.1% gains.
12-Month Change in Consumer Prices
In the April 2013 to April 2014 period, the rate of U.S. inflation surged 2.0% after rising 1.5% in the 12 months ended March. The gain was the highest since 2.0% was hit in July 2013.
Core consumer prices in the past 12 months rose 1.8% compared to 1.7% previously. This latest gain was the highest since August. The mark remains below the Federal Reserve target inflation rate of 2%, stating that level is optimal for economic improvement under current conditions.
This table has major consumer prices by category and their month-over-month changes. The final column offers year-over year changes. The prices for these items are gathered and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) each month.
US Inflation: October 2013 – April 2014 Consumer Prices (%)
|Oct 2013||Nov 2013||Dec 2013||Jan 2014||Feb 2014||Mar 2014||Apr 2014||12 Month|
|Food at home||.0||.0||.0||0.1||0.5||0.5||0.4||1.7|
|Food away from home||0.1||0.3||0.1||0.1||0.3||0.3||0.3||2.2|
|Gasoline (all types)||-1.6||-0.8||2.6||-1.0||-1.7||-1.7||2.3||2.4|
|Utility (piped) gas service||-0.5||-1.5||-1.0||3.6||3.6||7.5||0.3||11.8|
|All items less food, energy||0.1||0.2||0.1||0.1||0.1||0.2||0.2||1.8|
|Commodities less food, energy||-0.1||.0||.0||-0.1||-0.1||.0||0.1||-0.3|
|Used cars and trucks||0.4||0.3||.0||-0.5||-0.1||0.4||0.5||0.2|
|Services less energy||0.2||0.3||0.1||0.2||0.2||0.3||0.3||2.6|
The following paragraphs offer the summary report of the Consumer Price Index by the Labor Department’s BLS as published on Thursday, May 15, 2014.
Summary of Consumer Prices for April 2014
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3% in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.0% before seasonal adjustment.
The indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food all rose in April and contributed to the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The gasoline index rose 2.3%; this led to the first increase in the energy index since January, despite declines in the electricity and fuel oil indexes. The food index rose 0.4% for the third month in a row, as the index for meats rose sharply.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2% in April, with most of its major components posting increases, including shelter, medical care, airline fares, new vehicles, used cars and trucks, and recreation. The indexes for apparel, household furnishings and operations, and personal care were all unchanged in April.
The all items index increased 2.0% over the last 12 months; this compares to a 1.5% increase for the 12 months ending March, and is the largest 12-month increase since July. The index for all items less food and energy has increased 1.8% over the last 12 months. The energy index has risen 3.3%, and the food index has advanced 1.9% over the span.
The food index rose 0.4% in April. The index for food at home, which rose 0.5% in both February and March, increased 0.4% in April. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 1.5% in April and has increased 3.9% over the last three months. The index for meats rose 2.9%, its largest increase since November 2003. The index for fruits and vegetables also continued to rise, increasing 0.7%. The dairy index also rose in April; its 0.5% advance was its sixth increase in a row.
In contrast to these increases, the index for other food at home declined 0.2%, and the nonalcoholic beverages index declined for the fourth month in a row, falling 0.1%. The index for cereals and bakery products was unchanged in April. The food at home index has risen 1.7% over the past 12 months, with the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs up 6.4% over the span, the largest increase among the major grocery store food groups. The index for food away from home rose 0.3% in April, the third straight such increase, and has increased 2.2% over the last 12 months.
The energy index increased 0.3% in April after declining in February and March. The index for gasoline rose 2.3% in April. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 3.6% in April). The index for natural gas also increased, rising 0.3% after increasing more sharply in previous months.
In contrast, the fuel oil index fell 3.0% in April after a 2.9% decline in March. The electricity index declined sharply in April, falling 2.6%, its largest decline since 1986. Much of this decline can be attributed to "climate credits" applied to utility bills in California. The energy index has increased 3.3% over the past 12 months, with all major components increasing over that time period. The index for natural gas rose 11.8% over the span, while the gasoline index increased 2.4% and the electricity index advanced 2.1%.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2% in April, the same increase as in March. The shelter index, which rose 0.3% in March, increased 0.2% in April. The rent index increased 0.3%, the index for owners’ equivalent rent advanced 0.2%, and the index for lodging away from home rose 0.4%. The medical care index rose 0.3% in April, with the indexes for medical care services and medical care commodities both increasing 0.3%. The index for airline fares rose sharply in April, increasing 2.6%, its largest increase since November 2009. The new vehicles index increased 0.3% in April, and the index for used cars and trucks rose 0.5%. The recreation index, which declined in March, rose 0.2% in April. The tobacco index rose 0.1%, the same increase as in March. The indexes for apparel, for household furnishings and operations, and for personal care were all unchanged in April.
The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.8% over the last 12 months. This figure has remained in the range of 1.6% to 1.8% for 13 months in a row. The shelter index has increased 2.8% over the last 12 months; this figure has been trending upward. The medical care index has risen 2.4% over the span. The new vehicles index has risen 0.4%, while the index for used cars and trucks has advanced 0.2%.
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.0% over the last 12 months to an index level of 237.072 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.3% prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 2.0% over the last 12 months to an index level of 233.443 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.4% prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 1.8% over the last 12 months. For the month, the index rose 0.3% on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the post-2012 period are subject to revision.
Next CPI Release
The Consumer Price Index for May 2014 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).