U.S. inflation kept to its more usual course in March, rising for a second month in a row following three straight months of less than typical declines.
Not keeping to their norm, however, overall food prices fell negative for the first time since May 2013. Gains in gasoline and shelter prices more than offset those declines, according to a U.S. Labor Department report released Friday, April 17, 2015.
In March, the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, advanced 0.2% for a second consecutive month and after slipping 0.7% in January for the biggest monthly decline since December 2008.
Energy prices rose 1.1% with gasoline soaring 3.8%, the biggest jump since February 2013. Food prices declined 0.2%.
Stripping food and energy, the core inflation rate or base consumer prices also advanced 0.2% and for a third month in a row.
From March 2014 to March 2015, inflation fell 0.1% like in the 12-month period ended January which marked the first annual decline since 2009. (See past inflation rates.) The level was unchanged in the previous month.
And finally, core inflation picked up at a 1.8% rate over the past 12 months compared to the 1.7% increase through February.
"The data should allay the disinflation concerns that predominated earlier this year and, on the margin, increase the Fed’s confidence that inflation will eventually move toward its target (of 2%)," said Michelle Girard, chief economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut.
Below are most-watched consumer prices by category as well as their month-over-month changes. The final column offers the annual changes. The prices for these items are gathered and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) each month. For the full BLS summary report, visit http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cpi_04172015.htm.
Table of US Inflation / Consumer Prices (%)
|Sept 2014||Oct 2014||Nov 2014||Dec 2014||Jan 2015||Feb 2015||Mar 2015||12 Month|
|Food at home||0.3||0.2||0.1||0.2||-0.2||0.1||-0.5||1.9|
|Food away from home||0.3||0.2||0.4||0.3||0.2||0.3||0.2||2.9|
|Gasoline (all types)||-0.9||-2.0||-7.2||-9.2||-18.7||2.4||3.9||-29.2|
|Utility (piped) gas service||0.4||-1.9||-1.3||1.4||-3.4||-2.0||-2.7||-14.4|
|All items less food, energy||0.1||0.2||0.1||0.1||0.2||0.2||0.2||1.8|
|Commodities less food, energy||0.1||.0||-0.3||-0.2||-0.1||0.2||0.3||-0.2|
|Used cars and trucks||.0||-0.6||-0.9||-0.8||-0.1||1.0||1.2||-1.3|
|Services less energy||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.3||0.1||0.2||2.4|
The Consumer Price Index report for April will be released on May 22, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).