Consumer Price Index Summary

 Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                                        
 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, May 22, 2015           USDL-15-0972  

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 Media Contact:         (202)691-5902 


 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent
 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 declined 0.2
 percent before seasonal adjustment.

 The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in April and led
 to the slight increase in the seasonally adjusted all items index. The index
 for shelter rose, as did the indexes for medical care, household furnishings
 and operations, used cars and trucks, and new vehicles. In contrast, the
 indexes for apparel and airline fares declined in April.

 The energy index declined in April, while the food index was unchanged. The
 indexes for gasoline, natural gas, and fuel oil all declined, while the
 electricity index was unchanged. The food at home index declined for the second
 month in a row, offsetting an increase in the index for food away from home.
 Major grocery store food group indexes were mixed. 

 The all items index declined 0.2 percent for the 12 months ending April. This
 represented a slightly larger decrease than the 0.1-percent decline for the 12
 months ending March. The decline was driven by the energy index, which fell
 19.4 percent over the last 12 months, with all the major components declining
 except electricity. The food index rose 2.0 percent over the last year, and the
 index for all items less food and energy rose 1.8 percent. 

 Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
                                  Seasonally adjusted changes from             
                                          preceding month                      
                              Oct.  Nov.  Dec.  Jan.  Feb.  Mar.  Apr.   ended 
                              2014  2014  2014  2015  2015  2015  2015   Apr.  
 All items..................    .1   -.3   -.3   -.7    .2    .2    .1      -.2
  Food......................    .2    .2    .2    .0    .2   -.2    .0      2.0
   Food at home.............    .2    .1    .2   -.2    .1   -.5   -.2      1.3
   Food away from home (1)..    .2    .4    .3    .2    .3    .2    .2      2.9
  Energy....................  -1.2  -4.1  -4.7  -9.7   1.0   1.1  -1.3    -19.4
   Energy commodities.......  -2.1  -7.0  -9.0 -18.0   2.1   3.8  -1.9    -31.2
    Gasoline (all types)....  -2.0  -7.2  -9.2 -18.7   2.4   3.9  -1.7    -31.7
    Fuel oil (1)............  -4.0  -3.5  -7.8  -9.9   1.9   5.9  -8.4    -29.1
   Energy services..........   -.1   -.3    .8   -.1   -.2  -1.5   -.5     -1.2
    Electricity.............    .5    .0    .6    .9    .3  -1.1    .0      3.8
    Utility (piped) gas                                                        
       service..............  -1.9  -1.3   1.4  -3.4  -2.0  -2.7  -2.6    -16.3
  All items less food and                                                      
     energy.................    .2    .1    .1    .2    .2    .2    .3      1.8
   Commodities less food and                                                   
      energy commodities....    .0   -.3   -.2   -.1    .2    .3    .1      -.2
    New vehicles............    .1    .0    .0   -.1    .2    .2    .1       .8
    Used cars and trucks....   -.6   -.9   -.8   -.1   1.0   1.2    .6      -.5
    Apparel.................   -.3   -.7   -.8    .3    .3    .5   -.3      -.8
    Medical care commodities    .2    .6    .9   -.3    .7    .1    .1      4.1
   Services less energy                                                        
      services..............    .2    .2    .2    .3    .1    .2    .3      2.5
    Shelter.................    .2    .2    .2    .3    .2    .3    .3      3.0
    Transportation services     .5    .2    .0    .4    .3    .0    .1      1.6
    Medical care services...    .2    .3    .3    .1   -.2    .4    .9      2.6

   1 Not seasonally adjusted.

 Consumer Price Index Data for April 2015


 The food index was unchanged in April after a 0.2-percent decline in March.
 The food at home index, which declined 0.5 percent in March, fell 0.2 percent
 in April. The index for dairy and related products posted the largest decline
 of the major grocery store food groups, falling 0.8 percent, its fourth
 consecutive decrease. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs fell 0.7
 percent, with the beef index rising for the fifteenth month in a row but the
 indexes for pork, poultry, and eggs all declining. The index for cereals and
 bakery products also declined in April, falling 0.3 percent. In contrast, the
 index for nonalcoholic beverages rose 0.5 percent in April after declining in
 March. The index for fruits and vegetables also turned up in April, rising
 0.2 percent after falling in each of the previous 3 months. The index for
 other food at home also increased slightly, rising 0.1 percent. The index for
 food at home has increased 1.3 percent for the 12 months ending April; this is
 the smallest 12-month increase since the year ending February 2014. The index
 for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in April and has risen 2.9 percent
 over the last 12 months.  


 The energy index declined 1.3 percent in April after rising in February and
 March. The gasoline index, which rose 3.9 percent in March, fell 1.7 percent in
 April. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices were unchanged in April.)
 The index for fuel oil fell sharply in April, declining 8.4 percent. The index
 for natural gas also fell; its 2.6-percent decrease was its fourth decline in
 a row. The electricity index, which declined in March, was unchanged in April.
 The electricity index has increased 3.8 percent over the last 12 months, but
 the other energy indexes have sharply declined over the last year. The gasoline
 index has fallen 31.7 percent, the fuel oil index has decreased 29.1 percent,
 and the index for natural gas has declined 16.3 percent. 

 All items less food and energy

 The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.3 percent in April,
 its largest increase since January 2013. The shelter index increased 0.3
 percent, the same increase as in March. The indexes for rent, owners'
 equivalent rent, and lodging away from home all rose 0.3 percent. The medical
 care index rose 0.7 percent, its largest increase since January 2007. The index
 for medical care services rose 0.9 percent with the hospital services index
 rising 1.9 percent. The index for household furnishings and operations rose 0.5
 percent, its largest increase since September 2008. The index for used cars and
 trucks increased 0.6 percent, and the new vehicles index rose 0.1 percent. The
 indexes for alcoholic beverages and for tobacco were both unchanged in April.
 The apparel index declined for the first time since December, falling 0.3
 percent. The index for airline fares continued to decline, falling 1.3 percent
 after a 1.7-percent decline in March.

 The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.8 percent over the
 past 12 months, the same increase as for the 12 months ending March. This is
 slightly below its 1.9-percent annualized increase over the past 10 years. The
 shelter index has risen 3.0 percent over the last year, and the medical care
 index has advanced 2.9 percent. The index for airline fares fell 7.5 percent
 over the last year, and the indexes for apparel and for used cars and trucks
 have also declined. 

 Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.2 percent
 over the last 12 months to an index level of 236.599 (1982-84=100). For the
 month, the index rose 0.2 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.  

 The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
 decreased 0.8 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 231.520
 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.2 percent prior to seasonal

 The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) decreased
 0.6 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index rose 0.2 percent
 on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the past
 10 to 12 months are subject to revision.

 The Consumer Price Index for May 2015 is scheduled to be released on Thursday,
 June 18, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT). 

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 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 28 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 89
 percent of the total population and includes, 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, fuels,
 transportation fares, charges for doctorsí and dentistsí 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 6,000
 housing units and approximately 24,000 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 other month in other areas. Prices of most goods
 and services are obtained by personal visits or telephone calls of the
 Bureauís 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 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 2013."  These data are available on the CPI home page
 (, or by using the following link:   

 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

 CPI                                                                   202.416
 Less previous index                                                   201.800
 Equals index point change                                                .616

 Percent Change

 Index point difference                                                   .616
 Divided by the previous index                                         201.800
 Equals                                                                  0.003
 Results multiplied by one hundred                                   0.003x100
 Equals percent change                                                     0.3

 A Note on the Use of Seasonally Adjusted and Unadjusted Data


 The Consumer Price Index (CPI) produces both unadjusted and seasonally adjusted
 data. Seasonally adjusted data are computed using seasonal factors derived by
 the X-13ARIMA-SEATS Seasonal Adjustment Method. These factors are updated each
 January, and the new factors are used to revise the previous five years of
 seasonally adjusted data. For more information on data revisions and exceptions
 to the usual revision schedule, please see the Fact Sheet on Seasonal
 Adjustment at and the Timeline of Seasonal
 Adjustment Methodological Changes at 

 How to Use Seasonally Adjusted and Unadjusted Data

 For analyzing short-term 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. This allows data users to focus
 on changes that are not typical for the time of year. The unadjusted data are
 of primary interest to consumers concerned about the prices they actually pay.
 Unadjusted data are also 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. BLS advises against the use of seasonally adjusted data in
 escalation agreements because seasonally adjusted series are revised annually.

 Intervention Analysis
 The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment
 for some CPI series. Sometimes extreme values or sharp movements can distort
 the underlying seasonal pattern of price change. Intervention Analysis
 Seasonal Adjustment is a process by which the distortions caused by such
 unusual events are estimated and removed from the data prior to calculation
 of seasonal factors. The resulting seasonal factors, which more accurately
 represent the seasonal pattern, are then applied to the unadjusted data.
 2015 Series Adjusted Using Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment

 For the seasonal factors introduced in January 2015, BLS adjusted 33 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.

 Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Indexes
 Seasonally adjusted data, including the U.S. city average All items index
 levels, are subject to revision for up to five years after their original
 release. Every year, economists in the CPI calculate new seasonal factors
 for seasonally adjusted series and apply them to the last five years of data.
 Seasonally adjusted indexes beyond the last five years of data are considered
 to be final and not subject to revision. In January 2015, revised seasonal
 factors and seasonally adjusted indexes for 2009-2014 were calculated and
 published. For directly adjusted series, the seasonal factors for 2014 will
 be applied to data for 2015 to produce the seasonally adjusted 2015 indexes.
 Determining Seasonal Status

 Each year the seasonal status of every series is reevaluated based upon certain
 statistical criteria. Using these criteria, BLS economists determine whether a
 series should change its status: from "not seasonally adjusted" to "seasonally
 adjusted," or vice versa. If any of the 82 components of the U.S. city average
 all items index 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. Thirty-two of the 82
 components of the U.S. city average all items index are not seasonally adjusted
 for 2015.

 Contact Information
 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 Christopher Graci, Justin Yarros, or Samuel An
 at (202) 691-6968 or by e-mail at,
 or If you have general questions about the CPI, please call our
 information staff at (202) 691-7000. 

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Last Modified Date: May 22, 2015