The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3% in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.7% before seasonal adjustment.
US Inflation: January – March 2012 Consumer Prices
|Food at home||.0||.0||0.1||3.6|
|Food away from home||0.4||0.1||0.2||3.0|
|Gasoline (all types)||0.9||6.0||1.7||9.0|
|Utility (piped) gas service||-2.9||-3.4||0.9||-9.1|
|All items less food, energy||0.2||0.1||0.2||2.3|
|Comm. less food, energy||0.2||0.1||0.2||2.1|
|Used cars and trucks||-1.0||-0.2||1.3||3.2|
|Services less energy||0.2||0.1||0.2||2.3|
The indexes for food, energy, and all items less food and energy all increased in March. The gasoline index continued to rise, more than offsetting a decline in the household energy index and leading to a 0.9% increase in the energy index. The food index rose 0.2% as the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased notably.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2% in March after increasing 0.1% in February. Most of the major components increased in March, with the indexes for shelter and used cars and trucks accounting for about half the total increase for all items less food and energy. The indexes for medical care, apparel, recreation, new vehicles, and airline fares increased as well, while the indexes for tobacco and household furnishings and operations were among the few to decline in March.
The all items index has risen 2.7% over the last 12 months, a decline from last month’s 2.9% figure. The energy index has risen 4.6% and the food index has increased 3.3%; both increases are smaller than last month. In contrast, the 12-month change in the index for all items less food and energy, which was 2.2% last month, edged up to 2.3% in March.
The food index rose 0.2% in March after being unchanged in February. The index for food at home, unchanged in February, rose 0.1% in March. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.8%, its largest increase since May. The index for other food at home also rose in March, increasing 0.3%. The other four major grocery store food groups declined. The fruits and vegetables index fell 0.4%, its sixth consecutive decline, as the fresh vegetables index fell 1.6%. The index for cereals and bakery products fell 0.2%, as did the index for nonalcoholic beverages. The index for dairy and related products fell 0.1%, its fourth decline in five months. The food at home index has risen 3.6% over the last 12 months; this was its smallest 12-month change since last March. The fruits and vegetables index has declined 3.9% over that period, its largest 12-month decline since November 2009. The other five major grocery store food group indexes have increased over the past year, with the dairy group posting the largest increase at 6.3%. The index for food away from home rose 0.2% in March after a 0.1% increase in February and has risen 3.0% over the last 12 months.
The energy index, which rose 3.2% in February, increased 0.9% in March. The gasoline index rose 1.7% following its 6.0% February increase. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices increased 8.1% in March.) The fuel oil index also continued to rise, increasing 2.7% in March after rising 2.8% in February. In contrast, the index for energy services (comprised of electricity and natural gas) fell 0.4%. The natural gas index rose 0.9% after declining in each of the previous five months. The electricity index, however, fell 0.8%, its largest decline since June. Over the last 12 months, the gasoline index has risen 9.0% and the fuel oil index has increased 5.3%. The electricity index, however, has only increased 0.6% and the index for natural gas has declined 9.1%.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2% in March after a 0.1% increase in February. The shelter index increased 0.2%, the sixth straight such increase, with the indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both increasing 0.2%. The index for used cars and trucks rose sharply in March, increasing 1.3% after declining in each of the previous six months. The medical care index rose 0.3% in March, with the index for medical care commodities increasing 0.4% and the medical care services index advancing 0.3%. The apparel index rose 0.5% after declining in February; similarly, the index for recreation rose 0.2% after a February decline as the index for recreation services rose 0.4%. Other increases in March included the indexes for new vehicles (0.2%), airline fares (0.4%), and personal care (0.4%). In contrast, the index for tobacco fell 0.3% in March, and the indexes for household furnishings and operations and for alcoholic beverages both declined 0.2%.
The index for all items less food and energy has risen 2.3% over the last 12 months. The index for shelter has risen 2.1% over the period. The apparel index has risen 4.9%, the medical care index has increased 3.5%, and the index for new vehicles has risen 2.5%.
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.7% over the last 12 months to an index level of 229.392 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.8% prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 2.9% over the last 12 months to an index level of 226.304 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.9% prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 2.4% over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.6% on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the post-2010 period are subject to revision.
The Consumer Price Index for April 2012 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).