Consumer Price Index Summary

 Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                                        
 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, April 17, 2015         USDL-15-0609

 Technical information: (202) 691-7000
 Media Contact:         (202) 691-5902 


 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 declined 0.1
 percent before seasonal adjustment.

 Increases in the energy and shelter indexes more than offset a decline in the
 food index and were the main factors in the rise of the seasonally adjusted
 all items index. The energy index rose 1.1 percent as advances in the 
 gasoline and fuel oil indexes outweighed declines in the electricity and
 natural gas indexes. In contrast, the food index declined 0.2 percent, with
 the food at home index posting its largest decline since April 2009.   

 The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in March, the
 same increase as in January and February. Along with the shelter index, a 
 broad array of indexes rose in March, including medical care, used cars and 
 trucks, apparel, new vehicles, household furnishings and operations, and
 recreation. The index for airline fares, in contrast, declined for the fourth
 time in the last 5 months.   

 The all items index declined 0.1 percent for the 12 months ending March. The
 energy index declined 18.3 percent over the span, more than offsetting
 increases in the indexes for food (up 2.3 percent) and all items less food
 and energy (up 1.8 percent).  

 Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
                                  Seasonally adjusted changes from             
                                          preceding month                      
                              Sep.  Oct.  Nov.  Dec.  Jan.  Feb.  Mar.   ended 
                              2014  2014  2014  2014  2015  2015  2015   Mar.  
 All items..................    .1    .1   -.3   -.3   -.7    .2    .2      -.1
  Food......................    .3    .2    .2    .2    .0    .2   -.2      2.3
   Food at home.............    .3    .2    .1    .2   -.2    .1   -.5      1.9
   Food away from home (1)..    .3    .2    .4    .3    .2    .3    .2      2.9
  Energy....................   -.7  -1.2  -4.1  -4.7  -9.7   1.0   1.1    -18.3
   Energy commodities.......   -.9  -2.1  -7.0  -9.0 -18.0   2.1   3.8    -28.8
    Gasoline (all types)....   -.9  -2.0  -7.2  -9.2 -18.7   2.4   3.9    -29.2
    Fuel oil (1)............  -2.1  -4.0  -3.5  -7.8  -9.9   1.9   5.9    -24.9
   Energy services..........   -.4   -.1   -.3    .8   -.1   -.2  -1.5     -2.9
    Electricity.............   -.7    .5    .0    .6    .9    .3  -1.1       .9
    Utility (piped) gas                                                        
       service..............    .4  -1.9  -1.3   1.4  -3.4  -2.0  -2.7    -14.4
  All items less food and                                                      
     energy.................    .1    .2    .1    .1    .2    .2    .2      1.8
   Commodities less food and                                                   
      energy commodities....    .1    .0   -.3   -.2   -.1    .2    .3      -.2
    New vehicles............    .0    .1    .0    .0   -.1    .2    .2       .8
    Used cars and trucks....    .0   -.6   -.9   -.8   -.1   1.0   1.2     -1.3
    Apparel.................    .1   -.3   -.7   -.8    .3    .3    .5      -.5
    Medical care commodities    .5    .2    .6    .9   -.3    .7    .1      4.2
   Services less energy                                                        
      services..............    .2    .2    .2    .2    .3    .1    .2      2.4
    Shelter.................    .3    .2    .2    .2    .3    .2    .3      3.0
    Transportation services     .1    .5    .2    .0    .4    .3    .0      2.0
    Medical care services...    .1    .2    .3    .3    .1   -.2    .4      1.9

   1 Not seasonally adjusted.

 Consumer Price Index Data for March 2015


 The food index declined 0.2 percent in March after a 0.2-percent increase in
 February. The index for food at home turned sharply down in March, falling 0.5
 percent. Five of the six major grocery store food group indexes declined. The
 fruits and vegetables index posted the largest decrease, falling 1.4 percent, 
 its third decline in a row. The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which rose 
 0.6 percent in February, fell 0.6 percent in March. The index for dairy and
 related products fell 0.5 percent, as did the index for meats, poultry, fish,
 and eggs. The index for beef and veal, however, rose for the fourteenth month
 in a row, increasing 0.1 percent. The index for other food at home fell 0.1 
 percent in March after rising in February. The only major grocery store food
 group index to increase in March was cereals and bakery products, which
 increased 0.4 percent after declining in February. The food at home index has
 increased 1.9 percent over the past 12 months. Five of the six groups have 
 risen over that span, with meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increasing the most,
 at 6.0 percent. The fruits and vegetables index, however, has declined 1.1 
 percent over the last 12 months. The index for food away from home rose 0.2
 percent in March and has increased 2.9 percent over the past 12 months.


 The energy index rose 1.1 percent in March after increasing 1.0 percent in 
 February. The gasoline index increased 3.9 percent in March, its largest 
 increase since February 2013. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices
 rose 10.5 percent in March.) The fuel oil index also rose in March, increasing
 5.9 percent. In contrast, the index for natural gas declined 2.7 percent, and
 the electricity index fell 1.1 percent. Over the past 12 months, the 
 electricity index has increased 0.9 percent, while the other energy indexes
 have sharply declined. Despite the March increases, the gasoline index has 
 fallen 29.2 percent over the last 12 months, and the index for fuel oil has 
 decreased 24.9 percent. The index for natural gas has also declined over the
 span, falling 14.4 percent.   

 All items less food and energy

 The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in March.
 The shelter index increased 0.3 percent, with the indexes for rent and owners'
 equivalent rent both rising 0.3 percent and the index for lodging away from
 home increasing 0.4 percent. The medical care index, which was unchanged in 
 February, rose 0.3 percent in March. The index for medical care services rose
 0.4 percent, with the indexes for physicians' services and for hospital 
 services both rising 0.6 percent after declining in February. The index for 
 used cars and trucks increased 1.2 percent after rising 1.0 percent the 
 previous month. The apparel index rose 0.5 percent in March, its third 
 consecutive increase. Also rising in March were the indexes for new vehicles,
 for alcoholic beverages, and for household furnishings and operations, all of
 which increased 0.2 percent. The tobacco index rose 0.4 percent, and the index
 for recreation advanced 0.1 percent. The index for airline fares, in contrast,
 declined 1.7 percent in March af ter rising in February.     

 The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.8 percent over the 
 past 12 months, a slight increase from the 1.7 percent increase for the 12 
 months ending February. Over the last 12 months, the shelter index has risen 
 3.0 percent, while the medical care index has increased 2.5 percent. The 
 indexes for used cars and trucks, for apparel, and for airline fares have all
 declined over the past year.
 Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.1 percent
 over the last 12 months to an index level of 236.119 (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)
 decreased 0.6 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 231.055 
 (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) decreased
 0.4 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index rose 0.7 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 April 2015 is scheduled to be released on Friday,
 May 22, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT). 

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 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 designated 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 
 (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 
 (, 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 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 
 2010 through December 2014 were replaced in January 2015.  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 
 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: 32 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 

 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.  

 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  

 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 or contact Carlyle Jackson at (202) 691-6984, or
 by e-mail at If you have general questions about
 the CPI, please call our information staff at (202) 691-7000.  


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Last Modified Date: April 17, 2015