Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until
8:30 a.m. (EDT) June 12, 2019 USDL-19-0947
Technical information: (202) 691-7000 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bls.gov/cpi
Media Contact: (202) 691-5902 PressOffice@bls.gov
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX – MAY 2019
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1
percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3 percent
in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the
last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.8 percent before seasonal
The food index rose 0.3 percent in May after declining in April, with the
food index accounting for nearly half of the May seasonally adjusted all
items monthly increase. The energy index fell 0.6 percent in May, with the
gasoline index falling 0.5 percent and the indexes for electricity and
natural gas also declining in May.
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent for the
fourth consecutive month. The indexes for shelter, medical care, airline
fares, education, household furnishings and operations, and new vehicles
all rose in May. The indexes for used cars and trucks, recreation, and
motor vehicle insurance were among those that declined over the month.
The all items index increased 1.8 percent for the 12 months ending May.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.0 percent over the last
12 months, and the food index also rose 2.0 percent. The energy index
decreased 0.5 percent over the past year.
Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
Seasonally adjusted changes from
Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May 12-mos.
2018 2018 2019 2019 2019 2019 2019 ended
All items.................. .0 .0 .0 .2 .4 .3 .1 1.8
Food...................... .2 .3 .2 .4 .3 -.1 .3 2.0
Food at home............. .1 .3 .1 .4 .4 -.5 .3 1.2
Food away from home (1).. .3 .4 .3 .4 .2 .3 .2 2.9
Energy.................... -2.8 -2.6 -3.1 .4 3.5 2.9 -.6 -.5
Energy commodities....... -5.0 -5.7 -5.3 1.5 6.2 5.4 -.4 -.3
Gasoline (all types).... -5.2 -5.8 -5.5 1.5 6.5 5.7 -.5 -.2
Fuel oil................ -2.9 -9.4 -1.3 2.6 2.1 1.3 -.3 -.8
Energy services.......... .2 1.5 -.5 -.8 .3 -.1 -.8 -.7
Electricity............. .2 .4 -.6 -.3 .4 .0 -.8 -.2
Utility (piped) gas
service.............. .2 5.1 -.3 -2.4 -.1 -.8 -1.0 -2.6
All items less food and
energy................. .2 .2 .2 .1 .1 .1 .1 2.0
Commodities less food and
energy commodities.... .2 .0 .4 -.2 -.2 -.3 -.1 -.2
New vehicles............ .0 .0 .2 -.2 .4 .1 .1 .9
Used cars and trucks.... 2.5 -.5 .1 -.7 -.4 -1.3 -1.4 .3
Apparel................. -.6 .0 1.1 .3 -1.9 -.8 .0 -3.1
Medical care commodities .5 -.4 .1 -1.0 .4 .9 -.4 -.7
Services less energy
services.............. .2 .2 .2 .2 .3 .3 .2 2.7
Shelter................. .3 .3 .3 .3 .4 .4 .2 3.3
Transportation services .0 -.1 -.2 -.1 .0 .1 .1 1.1
Medical care services... .4 .4 .3 .0 .3 .2 .5 2.8
1 Not seasonally adjusted.
The food index increased 0.3 percent in May after falling 0.1 percent in April.
The index for food at home, which fell 0.5 percent in April, also rose 0.3 percent
in May. The index for nonalcoholic beverages rose 1.2 percent over the month of May,
while the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 0.8 percent. The index
for dairy and related products increased 0.7 percent in May, and the index for
cereals and bakery products rose 0.4 percent over the same period.
The index for fruits and vegetables declined for the second consecutive month,
falling 0.8 percent in May. The index for other food at home was unchanged over the
The index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in May. Both the index for full
service meals, and the index for limited service meals also increased 0.2 percent.
The food index rose 2.0 percent over the past year, with the food at home index
increasing 1.2 percent. All six major grocery store group indexes increased over the
past 12 months, with the indexes for nonalcoholic beverages and for cereals and bakery
products increasing the most, rising 2.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. The
index for food away from home rose 2.9 percent over the past year.
The energy index fell 0.6 percent in May. The gasoline index declined 0.5 percent in May
following a 5.7-percent increase in April. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices
rose 2.4 percent in May.) The index for natural gas fell 1.0 percent in May, its fifth
consecutive monthly decline. The electricity index also fell, decreasing 0.8 percent in
The energy index decreased 0.5 percent over the past 12 months, with all of its major
component indexes declining. The gasoline index decreased 0.2 percent over the past year.
The index for natural gas declined 2.6 percent and the index for electricity fell
0.2 percent over the 12-month period.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in May. The shelter
index rose 0.2 percent in May after rising 0.4 percent in each of the preceding 2 months.
The index for owners’ equivalent rent rose 0.3 percent, while the index for rent increased
0.2 percent over the month. The index for lodging away from home fell 0.1 percent in May,
breaking a string of 5 consecutive monthly increases.
The medical care index rose 0.3 percent in May, the same increase as in April and March.
The index for prescription drugs fell 0.2 percent, but the index for hospital services rose
0.5 percent and the index for physicians’ services advanced 0.1 percent. The personal care
index increased 0.3 percent in May, while the index for education rose 0.2 percent. The
indexes for airline fares, for household furnishings and operations, and for new vehicles
also increased over the month. The index for apparel was unchanged in May following
2 monthly declines.
The index for used cars and trucks fell 1.4 percent in May, its fourth consecutive monthly
decrease. The index for motor vehicle insurance declined 0.4 percent in May, the largest
monthly decrease in that index since May 2007. The index for recreation decreased 0.3 percent
for the month.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.0 percent over the past 12 months. The
12-month change has remained in the range of 1.6 percent to 2.4 percent since June 2011. The
shelter index rose 3.3 percent over the year, with the rent index rising 3.7 percent. The
medical care index increased 2.1 percent over the past 12 months.
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.8 percent over the last
12 months to an index level of 256.092 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased
0.2 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased
1.7 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 249.871 (1982-84=100). For the month,
the index increased 0.2 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 1.7 percent over
the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 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 June 2019 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, July 11, 2019
at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).
Brief Explanation of the CPI
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in prices paid by consumers for goods and services.
The CPI reflects spending patterns for each of two population groups: all urban consumers and urban
wage earners and clerical workers. The all urban consumer group represents about 93 percent of the
total U.S. population. It is based on the expenditures of almost all residents of urban or
metropolitan areas, including professionals, the self-employed, the poor, the unemployed, and retired
people, as well as urban wage earners and clerical workers. Not included in the CPI are the spending
patterns of people living in rural nonmetropolitan areas, farming families, people in the Armed Forces,
and those in institutions, such as prisons and mental hospitals. Consumer inflation for all urban
consumers is measured by two indexes, namely, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)
and the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U).
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) is based on the
expenditures of households included in the CPI-U definition that meet two requirements: more than
one-half of the household's income must come from clerical or wage occupations, and at least one of the
household's earners must have been employed for at least 37 weeks during the previous 12 months. The
CPI-W population represents about 29 percent of the total U.S. population and is a subset of the CPI-U
The CPIs are based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, fuels, transportation, doctors’ and dentists’
services, drugs, and other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living. Prices are
collected each month in 75 urban areas across the country from about 6,000 housing units and
approximately 22,000 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 75 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 by the Bureau’s trained representatives.
In calculating the index, price changes for the various items in each location are aggregated using
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 23 selected 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. The CPI-U and CPI-W are considered
final when released, but the C-CPI-U is issued in preliminary form and subject to three subsequent
The index measures price change from a designed reference date. For most of 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 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000. Alternatively, that
relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services
rising from $100 to $107.
Sampling Error in the CPI
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 0.03 percent for the U.S. all
items CPI. 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 percent of these estimates will
be within 0.06 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-U, we are 95 percent confident that the actual
percent change based on all retail prices would fall between 0.14 and 0.26 percent. For the latest data,
including information on how to use the estimates of standard error, see
Calculating Index Changes
Movements of the indexes from 1 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 following table shows an example of using index
values to calculate percent changes:
Item A Item B Item C
Year I 112.500 225.000 110.000
Year II 121.500 243.000 128.000
Change in index points 9.000 18.000 18.000
Percent change 9.0/112.500 x 100 = 8.0 18.0/225.000 x 100 = 8.0 18.0/110.000 x 100 = 16.4
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 February, and the new factors are used to revise the previous 5 years of
seasonally adjusted data. The factors are available at
www.bls.gov/cpi/tables/seasonal-adjustment/seasonal-factors-2019.pdf. For more information on data revision
scheduling, please see the Factsheet on Seasonal Adjustment
at www.bls.gov/cpi/seasonal-adjustment/questions-and-answers.htm and the Timeline of Seasonal Adjustment
Methodological Changes at
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 weather events, 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.
For example, this procedure was used for the motor fuel series to offset the effects of the 2009 return to
normal pricing after the worldwide economic downturn in 2008. Retaining this outlier data during seasonal
factor calculation would distort the computation of the seasonal portion of the time series data for motor
fuel, so it was estimated and removed from the data prior to seasonal adjustment. Following that, seasonal
factors were calculated based on this “prior adjusted” data. These seasonal factors represent a clearer picture
of the seasonal pattern in the data. The last step is for motor fuel seasonal factors to be applied to the
For the seasonal factors introduced for January 2019, BLS adjusted 51 series using intervention analysis seasonal
adjustment, including selected food and beverage items, motor fuels, electricity, and vehicles.
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 5 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 5 years of data. Seasonally adjusted indexes beyond the
last 5 years of data are considered to be final and not subject to revision. For January 2019, revised seasonal
factors and seasonally adjusted indexes for 2014 to 2018 were calculated and published. For series which are
directly adjusted using the Census X-13ARIMA-SEATS seasonal adjustment software, the seasonal factors for 2018
will be applied to data for 2019 to produce the seasonally adjusted 2019 indexes. Series which are indirectly
seasonally adjusted by summing seasonally adjusted component series have seasonal factors which are derived and
are therefore not available in advance.
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 81 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 5 years, but the seasonally adjusted indexes
before that period will not be changed. Twenty-nine of the 81 components of the U.S. city average all items index
are not seasonally adjusted for 2019.
For additional information about the CPI visit www.bls.gov/cpi or contact the CPI Information and Analysis Section
at 202-691-7000 or email@example.com.
For additional information on seasonal adjustment in the CPI visit www.bls.gov/cpi/seasonal-adjustment/home.htm or
contact the CPI seasonal adjustment section at 202-691-6968 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request.
Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.