Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until
8:30 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, April 15, 2014 USDL-14-0603
Technical information: (202) 691-7000 Reed.Steve@bls.gov www.bls.gov/cpi
Media Contact: (202) 691-5902 PressOffice@bls.gov
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX - MARCH 2014
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased
0.2 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 1.5 percent before seasonal adjustment.
Increases in the shelter and food indexes accounted for most of the
seasonally adjusted all items increase. The food index increased 0.4
percent in March, with several major grocery store food groups increasing
notably. The energy index, in contrast, declined slightly in March as
decreases in the gasoline and fuel oil indexes more than offset increases
in the indexes for electricity and natural gas.
The index for all items less food and energy also rose 0.2 percent in March.
Besides the 0.3 percent increase in the shelter index, the indexes for
medical care, for apparel, for used cars and trucks, and for airline fares
also increased. The indexes for household furnishings and operations and
for recreation both declined in March.
The all items index increased 1.5 percent over the last 12 months; this
compares to a 1.1 percent increase for the 12 months ending February. The
index for all items less food and energy has increased 1.7 percent over the
last 12 months, as has the food index. The energy index has risen slightly
over the span, advancing 0.4 percent.
Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
Seasonally adjusted changes from
Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. ended
2013 2013 2013 2013 2014 2014 2014 Mar.
All items.................. .1 .0 .1 .2 .1 .1 .2 1.5
Food...................... .0 .1 .1 .0 .1 .4 .4 1.7
Food at home............. .0 .0 .0 .0 .1 .5 .5 1.4
Food away from home (1).. .1 .1 .3 .1 .1 .3 .3 2.3
Energy.................... .3 -.9 -.4 1.6 .6 -.5 -.1 .4
Energy commodities....... -.1 -1.5 -.8 2.6 -.5 -1.3 -2.0 -4.0
Gasoline (all types).... -.2 -1.6 -.8 2.6 -1.0 -1.7 -1.7 -4.7
Fuel oil (1)............ .9 -.6 .4 2.4 3.7 4.1 -2.9 2.1
Energy services.......... .8 .1 .0 .1 2.2 .7 2.6 7.8
Electricity............. .5 .2 .5 .4 1.8 -.2 1.1 5.3
Utility (piped) gas
service.............. 1.6 -.5 -1.5 -1.0 3.6 3.6 7.5 16.4
All items less food and
energy................. .1 .1 .2 .1 .1 .1 .2 1.7
Commodities less food and
energy commodities.... -.1 -.1 .0 .0 -.1 -.1 .0 -.3
New vehicles............ .1 -.1 -.1 .0 -.3 .1 .0 .2
Used cars and trucks.... .3 .4 .3 .0 -.5 -.1 .4 .1
Apparel................. -.4 -.4 -.1 .4 -.3 -.3 .3 .5
Medical care commodities .2 .3 .1 -.6 .5 .6 -.3 1.3
Services less energy
services.............. .2 .2 .3 .1 .2 .2 .3 2.3
Shelter................. .2 .1 .3 .2 .3 .2 .3 2.7
Transportation services .2 .4 .3 -.4 .1 .3 .2 1.4
Medical care services... .3 .0 .0 .2 .2 .2 .3 2.4
1 Not seasonally adjusted.
Consumer Price Index Data for March 2014
The food index rose 0.4 percent in March, the same increase as in February.
Four of the six major grocery store food groups increased in March, three of
them sharply. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs posted the largest
increase, rising 1.2 percent, the same increase as in February. The index for
dairy and related products rose 1.0 percent in March, its fifth consecutive
increase. The index for fruits and vegetables, which rose 1.1 percent in
February, rose 0.9 percent in March. The index for fresh fruits rose 3.1
percent, while the index for fresh vegetables declined 1.6 percent. The index
for cereals and bakery products rose 0.2 percent in March, while the indexes
for nonalcoholic beverages and for other food at home both declined. The food
at home index has risen 1.4 percent over the last year, its largest 12-month
increase since August 2012. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
increased the most over the span, rising 5.1 percent, while the index for
nonalcoholic beverages was the only one to decline, falling 1.8 percent. The
index for food away from home rose 0.3 percent in March, the same increase as
in February, and has increased 2.3 percent over the last 12 months.
The energy index fell 0.1 percent in March after a 0.5 percent decline in
February. The gasoline index declined 1.7 percent in March, the same decline
as in February. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 5.1 percent
in March). The fuel oil index also declined, falling 2.9 percent after rising
4.1 percent the previous month. In contrast, the index for natural gas rose
sharply, increasing 7.5 percent, its largest one-month increase since October
2005. It has increased 15.3 percent over the last three months. The electricity
index also increased, rising 1.1 percent. Over the last 12 months, the energy
index has increased 0.4 percent, with the natural gas index rising 16.4 percent,
the electricity index increasing 5.3 percent, and the fuel oil index advancing
2.1 percent. These increases more than offset a 4.7 percent decline in the
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in March.
Almost two-thirds of this increase was accounted for by the shelter index, which
rose 0.3 percent. The indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both rose 0.3
percent, while the index for lodging away from home rose 1.5 percent. The
medical care index rose 0.2 percent in March. Among medical care components, the
hospital services index increased 0.8 percent, but the index for prescription
drugs fell 0.2 percent. The apparel index, which fell 0.3 percent in February,
increased 0.3 percent in March. The index for used cars and trucks rose 0.4
percent, while the index for airline fares advanced 0.5 percent. The indexes
for alcoholic beverages, for tobacco, and for personal care also rose in March.
The index for new vehicles was unchanged in March. The recreation index
declined in March, falling 0.1 percent, as did the index for household
furnishings and operations.
The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.7 percent over the
last 12 months. The shelter index has risen 2.7 percent over the last 12
months; this is the largest 12-month increase since the period ending March
2008. Several components have increased only slightly over the last year,
including apparel (0.5 percent), recreation (0.3 percent), new vehicles
(0.2 percent), and used cars and trucks (0.1 percent).
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.5
percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 236.293 (1982-84=100).
For the month, the index rose 0.6 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
increased 1.4 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 232.560
(1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.7 percent prior to seasonal
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased
1.4 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index rose 0.6
percent on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for
the post-2012 period are subject to revision.
The Consumer Price Index for April 2014 is scheduled to be released on
Thursday, May 15, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).
Facilities for Sensory Impaired
Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired
individuals upon request.
Voice phone: 202-691-5200
Federal Relay Services: 1-800-877-8339.
Brief Explanation of the CPI
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices
over time of goods and services purchased by households. The Bureau of Labor
Statistics publishes CPIs for two population groups: (1) the CPI for Urban
Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which covers households of wage
earners and clerical workers that comprise approximately 29 percent of the
total population and (2) the CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and the
Chained CPI for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U), which covers approximately
88 percent of the total population and include in addition to wage earners and
clerical worker households, groups such as professional, managerial, and
technical workers, the self-employed, short-term workers, the unemployed, and
retirees and others not in the labor force.
The CPIs are based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, and fuels,
transportation fares, charges for doctors’ and dentists’ services, drugs, and
other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living. Prices are
collected each month in 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000
housing units and approximately 26,000 retail establishments-department stores,
supermarkets, hospitals, filling stations, and other types of stores and
service establishments. All taxes directly associated with the purchase and use
of items are included in the index. Prices of fuels and a few other items are
obtained every month in all 87 locations. Prices of most other commodities and
services are collected every month in the three largest geographic areas and
every othermonth in other areas. Prices of most goods and services are obtained
by personal visits or telephone calls of the Bureau’s trained representatives.
In calculating the index, price changes for the various items in each location
are averaged together with weights, which represent their importance in the
spending of the appropriate population group. Local data are then combined to
obtain a U.S. city average. For the CPI-U and CPI-W separate indexes are also
published by size of city, by region of the country, for cross-classifications
of regions and population-size classes, and for 27 local areas. Area indexes do
not measure differences in the level of prices among cities; they only measure
the average change in prices for each area since the base period. For the
C-CPI-U data are issued only at the national level. It is important to note
that the CPI-U and CPI-W are considered final when released, but the C-CPI-U
is issued in preliminary form and subject to two annual revisions.
The index measures price change from a designed reference date. For the CPI-U
and the CPI-W the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. The reference base for
the C-CPI-U is December 1999 equals 100. An increase of 16.5 percent from the
reference base, for example, is shown as 116.500. This change can also be
expressed in dollars as follows: the price of a base period market basket of
goods and services in the CPI has risen from $10 in 1982-84 to $11.65.
For further details visit the CPI home page on the Internet at
http://www.bls.gov/cpi/ or contact our CPI Information and Analysis Section on
Note on Sampling Error in the Consumer Price Index
The CPI is a statistical estimate that is subject to sampling error because it
is based upon a sample of retail prices and not the complete universe of all
prices. BLS calculates and publishes estimates of the 1-month, 2-month,
6-month and 12-month percent change standard errors annually, for the CPI-U.
These standard error estimates can be used to construct confidence intervals
for hypothesis testing. For example, the estimated standard error of the 1
month percent change is 0.04 percent for the U.S. All Items Consumer Price
Index. This means that if we repeatedly sample from the universe of all retail
prices using the same methodology, and estimate a percentage change for each
sample, then 95% of these estimates would be within 0.08 percent of the 1 month
percentage change based on all retail prices. For example, for a 1-month
change of 0.2 percent in the All Items CPI for All Urban Consumers, we are 95
percent confident that the actual percent change based on all retail prices
would fall between 0.12 and 0.28 percent. For the latest data, including
information on how to use the estimates of standard error, see "Variance
Estimates for Price Changes in the Consumer Price Index, January-December 2012".
These data are available on the CPI home page (http://www.bls.gov/cpi), or by
using the following link: http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpivar2012.pdf
Calculating Index Changes
Movements of the indexes from one month to another are usually expressed as
percent changes rather than changes in index points, because index point
changes are affected by the level of the index in relation to its base period
while percent changes are not. The example below illustrates the computation
of index point and percent changes.
Percent changes for 3-month and 6-month periods are expressed as annual rates
and are computed according to the standard formula for compound growth rates.
These data indicate what the percent change would be if the current rate were
maintained for a 12-month period.
Index Point Change
Less previous index 201.800
Equals index point change .616
Index point difference .616
Divided by the previous index 201.800
Results multiplied by one hundred .003x100
Equals percent change 0.3
A Note on Seasonally Adjusted and Unadjusted Data
Because price data are used for different purposes by different groups, the
Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes seasonally adjusted as well as unadjusted
changes each month.
For analyzing general price trends in the economy, seasonally adjusted changes
are usually preferred since they eliminate the effect of changes that normally
occur at the same time and in about the same magnitude every year--such as
price movements resulting from changing climatic conditions, production cycles,
model changeovers, holidays, and sales.
The unadjusted data are of primary interest to consumers concerned about the
prices they actually pay. Unadjusted data also are used extensively for
escalation purposes. Many collective bargaining contract agreements and pension
plans, for example, tie compensation changes to the Consumer Price Index before
adjustment for seasonal variation.
Seasonal factors used in computing the seasonally adjusted indexes are derived
by the X-13ARIMA-SEATS Seasonal Adjustment Method. Seasonally adjusted indexes
and seasonal factors are computed annually. Each year, the last five years of
seasonally adjusted data are revised. Data from January 2009 through December
2013 were replaced in January 2014. Exceptions to the usual revision schedule
were: the updated seasonal data at the end of 1977 replaced data from 1967
through 1977; and, in January 2002, dependently seasonally adjusted series were
revised for January 1987-December 2001 as a result of a change in the aggregation
weights for dependently adjusted series. For further information, please see
Aggregation of Dependently Adjusted Seasonally Adjusted Series, in the October
2001 issue of the CPI Detailed Report.
Effective with the publication of data from January 2006 through December 2010
in January 2011, the Video and audio series and the Information technology,
hardware and services series were changed from independently adjusted to
dependently adjusted. This resulted in an increase in the number of seasonal
components used in deriving seasonal movement of the All items and 64 other lower
level aggregations, from 73 for the publication of January 1998 through December
2005 data to 82 for the publication of seasonally adjusted data for January 2006
and later. Each year the seasonal status of every series is reevaluated based
upon certain statistical criteria. If any of the 82 components change their
seasonal adjustment status from seasonally adjusted to not seasonally adjusted,
not seasonally adjusted data will be used in the aggregation of the dependent
series for the last five years, but the seasonally adjusted indexes before that
period will not be changed. Note: 35 of the 82 components are not seasonally
adjusted for 2014.
Seasonally adjusted data, including the all items index levels, are subject to
revision for up to five years after their original release. For this reason,
BLS advises against the use of these data in escalation agreements.
Effective with the calculation of the seasonal factors for 1990, the Bureau of
Labor Statistics has used an enhanced seasonal adjustment procedure called
Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment for some CPI series. Intervention
Analysis Seasonal Adjustment allows for better estimates of seasonally
adjusted data. Extreme values and/or sharp movements which might distort the
seasonal pattern are estimated and removed from the data prior to calculation of
seasonal factors. Beginning with the calculation of seasonal factors for 1996,
X-12-ARIMA software was used for Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment. In
2014, for the 2009-2013 revisions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics began using
X-13ARIMA-SEATS to perform the seasonal adjustment of CPI series, including
Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment for certain series.
For the seasonal factors introduced in January 2014, BLS adjusted 31 series using
Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment, including selected food and beverage
items, motor fuels, electricity and vehicles. For example, this procedure was used
for the Motor fuel series to offset the effects of events such as the response in
crude oil markets to the worldwide economic downturn in 2008.
For a complete list of Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment series and
explanations, please refer to the article "Intervention Analysis Seasonal
Adjustment", located on our website at http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpisapage.htm.
For additional information on seasonal adjustment in the CPI, please write to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Division of Consumer Prices and Price Indexes,
Washington, DC 20212 or contact Chris Graci at (202) 691-5826, or by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Carlyle Jackson at (202) 691-6984, or by
e-mail at email@example.com . If you have general questions about the CPI,
please call our information staff at (202) 691-7000.