Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until
8:30 a.m. (EST) November 17, 2015 USDL-15-2202
Technical information: (202) 691-7000 Reed.Steve@bls.gov www.bls.gov/cpi
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CONSUMER PRICE INDEX – OCTOBER 2015
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2
percent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items
index increased 0.2 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The indexes for food, energy, and all items less food and energy all
increased modestly in October. The food index, which increased 0.4 percent
in September, rose 0.1 percent in October, with four of the six major
grocery store food group indexes rising. The energy index, which declined
in August and September, advanced 0.3 percent in October; major energy
component indexes were mixed.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in October,
the same increase as in September. Advances in the indexes for shelter and
medical care were the largest contributors to the increase, with the
indexes for personal care, airline fares, recreation, alcoholic beverages,
and tobacco also rising. In contrast, the indexes for apparel, new vehicles,
household furnishings and operations, and used cars and trucks all declined
The all items index rose 0.2 percent over the last 12 months. The 12-month
change has been between negative 0.2 percent and positive 0.2 percent since
January. The food index has increased 1.6 percent over the past year, and
the index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.9 percent. These
advances have been mostly offset by a 17.1 percent decline in the energy
Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
Seasonally adjusted changes from
Apr. May June July Aug. Sep. Oct. ended
2015 2015 2015 2015 2015 2015 2015 Oct.
All items.................. .1 .4 .3 .1 -.1 -.2 .2 .2
Food...................... .0 .0 .3 .2 .2 .4 .1 1.6
Food at home............. -.2 -.2 .4 .3 .3 .3 .1 .7
Food away from home (1).. .2 .2 .2 .0 .2 .5 .2 2.9
Energy.................... -1.3 4.3 1.7 .1 -2.0 -4.7 .3 -17.1
Energy commodities....... -1.9 9.6 3.1 .7 -4.1 -8.6 .4 -27.8
Gasoline (all types).... -1.7 10.4 3.4 .9 -4.1 -9.0 .4 -27.8
Fuel oil (1)............ -8.4 .7 -1.9 -3.4 -8.1 -2.4 -1.1 -32.9
Energy services.......... -.5 -1.0 .2 -.6 .5 -.4 .2 -2.9
Electricity............. .0 -1.2 .2 -.4 .3 -.5 .4 -.5
Utility (piped) gas
service.............. -2.6 .0 .3 -1.4 1.2 -.3 -.7 -11.0
All items less food and
energy................. .3 .1 .2 .1 .1 .2 .2 1.9
Commodities less food and
energy commodities.... .1 -.1 -.1 -.1 -.1 .0 -.1 -.7
New vehicles............ .1 .2 .1 -.2 .0 -.1 -.2 .1
Used cars and trucks.... .6 -.4 -.4 -.6 -.4 -.2 -.3 -1.4
Apparel................. -.3 -.5 -.1 .3 .3 -.3 -.8 -1.9
Medical care commodities .1 .4 .0 .1 .3 -.2 .2 2.8
Services less energy
services.............. .3 .2 .3 .2 .1 .3 .3 2.8
Shelter................. .3 .2 .3 .4 .2 .3 .3 3.2
Transportation services .1 .7 .4 -.2 -.3 .1 .2 1.8
Medical care services... .9 .2 -.2 .1 .0 .3 .8 3.0
1 Not seasonally adjusted.
Consumer Price Index Data for October 2015
The food index increased 0.1 percent in October, its smallest increase since May.
The index for food at home rose 0.1 percent in October after a 0.3 percent
increase in September. Four of the six major grocery store food group indexes rose
in October. The index for cereals and bakery products advanced 0.8 percent in
October, its largest increase since August 2011. The fruits and vegetables index
increased for the fourth month in a row, rising 0.5 percent. The indexes for
nonalcoholic beverages and for other food at home also rose in October, increasing
0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and
eggs declined in October, falling 0.5 percent, as the index for eggs fell 4.8
percent after sharp increases during the summer. The index for dairy and related
products also declined, falling 0.2 percent. The food at home index has increased
0.7 percent over the past 12 months. Five of the six major grocery store food group
indexes rose over the span, with the index for other food at home posting the
largest increase of 2.0 percent. The dairy index was the only one to decline,
falling 3.0 percent. The index for food away from home increased 0.2 percent in
October and has risen 2.9 percent over the last 12 months.
The energy index, which declined 4.7 percent in September, rose 0.3 percent in
October. Major energy component indexes were mixed in October. The gasoline index
rose 0.4 percent after declining sharply in August and September. (Before seasonal
adjustment, gasoline prices declined 3.9 percent in October.) The electricity index
also increased 0.4 percent in October after falling in September. In contrast, the
fuel oil index continued to decline, falling 1.1 percent, and the index for natural
gas decreased 0.7 percent. All major energy component indexes continue to show
declines over the past 12 months. The fuel oil index has declined 32.9 percent and
the gasoline index has fallen 27.8 percent. The index for natural gas has decreased
11.0 percent, and the electricity index has declined more modestly, falling 0.5
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in October, the
same increase as the previous month. The shelter index continued to rise, increasing
0.3 percent for the second consecutive month. The rent index rose 0.3 percent and the
index for owners' equivalent rent advanced 0.2 percent. The index for lodging away
from home increased 0.8 percent, the same increase as in September. The medical care
index rose 0.7 percent in October, its largest increase since April. The hospital
services index increased 2.0 percent, the index for prescription drugs rose 0.1
percent and the physicians' services index was unchanged. The index for personal care
increased 0.5 percent in October, its largest increase since January. The index for
airline fares turned up in October, rising 1.5 percent and ending a string of three
consecutive declines. The index for recreation increased 0.2 percent, the index for
alcoholic beverages rose 0.6 percent, and the tobacco index advanced 0.4 percent. In
contrast to these increases, the apparel index declined in October, falling 0.8
percent, its largest decline since December 2014. The index for new vehicles, which
fell 0.1 percent in September, fell 0.2 percent in October. The index for used cars
and trucks declined for the sixth month in a row, falling 0.3 percent. The index for
household furnishings and operations also declined in October, falling 0.1 percent.
The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.9 percent over the past 12
months; this is the same figure as the 12 months ending September. Indexes that have
increased more rapidly include shelter (3.2 percent) and medical care (3.0 percent).
Among the indexes that posted smaller increases are recreation (0.6 percent) and new
vehicles (0.1 percent). Indexes that declined over the past year include airline
fares (-5.2 percent), apparel (-1.9 percent) and used cars and trucks (-1.4 percent).
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent over
the last 12 months to an index level of 237.838 (1982-84=100). For the month, the
index was essentially unchanged prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
decreased 0.4 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 232.373
(1982-84=100). For the month, the index declined 0.1 percent prior to seasonal
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) decreased 0.2
percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index declined 0.1 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 November 2015 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday,
December 15, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).
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 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 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 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 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 www.bls.gov/cpi/ or
contact our CPI Information and Analysis Section on (202) 691-7000.
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 (www.bls.gov/cpi), 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
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 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 (www.bls.gov/cpi/cpisaqanda.htm) and the Timeline of Seasonal Adjustment
Methodological Changes (www.bls.gov/cpi/cpiseastimeline.htm).
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.
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.
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 Graci.Christopher@bls.gov,
Yarros.Justin@bls.gov or An.Samuel@bls.gov. If you have general questions about the CPI, please call
our information staff at (202) 691-7000.