CPI All Items Increases 0.3 Percent in March as Most Major Components Rise

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—April 13, 2012.  The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent 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 percent before seasonal adjustment.

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 percent increase in the energy index. The food index rose 0.2 percent as the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased notably.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in March after increasing 0.1 percent 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 percent over the last 12 months, a decline from last month’s 2.9 percent figure. The energy index has risen 4.6 percent and the food index has increased 3.3 percent; 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 percent last month, edged up to 2.3 percent in March.

Consumer Price Index Data for March 2012

Food

The food index rose 0.2 percent in March after being unchanged in February. The index for food at home, unchanged in February, rose 0.1 percent in March. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.8 percent, its largest increase since May. The index for other food at home also rose in March, increasing 0.3 percent. The other four major grocery store food groups declined. The fruits and vegetables index fell 0.4 percent, its sixth consecutive decline, as the fresh vegetables index fell 1.6 percent. The index for cereals and bakery products fell 0.2 percent, as did the index for nonalcoholic beverages. The index for dairy and related products fell 0.1 percent, its fourth decline in five months.  The food at home index has risen 3.6 percent over the last 12 months; this was its smallest 12-month change since last March. The fruits and vegetables index has declined 3.9 percent 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 percent. The index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in March after a 0.1 percent increase in February and has risen 3.0 percent over the last 12 months.

Energy

The energy index, which rose 3.2 percent in February, increased 0.9 percent in March. The gasoline index rose 1.7 percent following its 6.0 percent February increase. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices increased 8.1 percent in March.) The fuel oil index also continued to rise, increasing 2.7 percent in March after rising 2.8 percent in February. In contrast, the index for energy services (comprised of electricity and natural gas) fell 0.4 percent. The natural gas index rose 0.9 percent after declining in each of the previous five months. The electricity index, however, fell 0.8 percent, its largest decline since June. Over the last 12 months, the gasoline index has risen 9.0 percent and the fuel oil index has increased 5.3 percent. The electricity index, however, has only increased 0.6 percent and the index for natural gas has declined 9.1 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in March after a 0.1 percent increase in February. The shelter index increased 0.2 percent, the sixth straight such increase, with the indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both increasing 0.2 percent. The index for used cars and trucks rose sharply in March, increasing 1.3 percent after declining in each of the previous six months. The medical care index rose 0.3 percent in March, with the index for medical care commodities increasing 0.4 percent and the medical care services index advancing 0.3 percent. The apparel index rose 0.5 percent after declining in February; similarly, the index for recreation rose 0.2 percent after a February decline as the index for recreation services rose 0.4 percent. Other increases in March included the indexes for new vehicles (0.2 percent), airline fares (0.4 percent), and personal care (0.4 percent). In contrast, the index for tobacco fell 0.3 percent in March, and the indexes for household furnishings and operations and for alcoholic beverages both declined 0.2 percent.

The index for all items less food and energy has risen 2.3 percent over the last 12 months. The index for shelter has risen 2.1 percent over the period. The apparel index has risen 4.9 percent, the medical care index has increased 3.5 percent, and the index for new vehicles has risen 2.5 percent.

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.7 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 229.392 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.8 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 2.9 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 226.304  (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.9 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 2.4 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.6 percent on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the post-2010 period are subject to revision.

Source: bls.gov