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Economic News Release
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CPI CPI Program Links

Consumer Price Index Summary


Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                                        
8:30 a.m. (EST) December 11, 2019              USDL-19-2144

Technical information: (202) 691-7000  •  cpi_info@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/cpi
Media Contact:         (202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov 

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX – NOVEMBER 2019

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.3 percent in
November on a seasonally adjusted basis, after rising 0.4 percent in October,
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months,
the all items index increased 2.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Increases in the shelter and energy indexes were major factors in the seasonally
adjusted monthly increase of the all items index. Increases in the indexes for
medical care, for recreation, and for food also contributed to the overall
increase. The gasoline index rose 1.1 percent in November and the other major
energy component indexes also increased. The food index rose 0.1 percent, with
the indexes for both food at home and food away from home increasing over the
month.
	
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in November, the
same increase as in October. Along with the indexes for shelter, for medical
care, and for recreation, the indexes for used cars and trucks and for apparel
also rose in November. The new vehicles index fell in November, as did the
index for airline fares.

The all items index increased 2.1 percent for the 12 months ending November, a
larger rise than the 1.8-percent increase for the period ending October. The
index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent over the last 12
months. The food index rose 2.0 percent over the last l2 months, while the
energy index declined 0.6 percent over the last year.  

Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city average
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                  Seasonally adjusted changes from             
                                          preceding month                      
                                                                          Un-  
                                                                       adjusted
                                                                        12-mos.
                              May   June  July  Aug.  Sep.  Oct.  Nov.   ended 
                              2019  2019  2019  2019  2019  2019  2019   Nov.  
                                                                         2019  
								
All items..................	.1    .1    .3	  .1	.0    .4    .3	    2.1
 Food......................	.3    .0    .0	  .0	.1    .2    .1	    2.0
  Food at home.............	.3   -.2   -.1	 -.2	.0    .3    .1	    1.0
  Food away from home(1)...	.2    .3    .2	  .2	.3    .2    .2	    3.2
 Energy....................    -.6  -2.3   1.3	-1.9  -1.4   2.7    .8	    -.6
  Energy commodities.......    -.4  -3.5   2.4	-3.3  -2.3   3.5   1.1	   -1.5
   Gasoline (all types)....    -.5  -3.6   2.5	-3.5  -2.4   3.7   1.1	   -1.2
   Fuel oil................    -.3  -2.3    .6	 -.9   -.8    .8   1.4	   -6.7
  Energy services..........    -.8   -.7    .0	 -.2   -.1   1.8    .4	     .6
   Electricity.............    -.8   -.8    .6	 -.3	.0   1.6    .3	     .5
   Utility (piped) gas
      service..............   -1.0   -.3  -1.8	  .1   -.7   2.4   1.1	    1.1
 All items less food and
    energy.................	.1    .3    .3	  .3	.1    .2    .2	    2.3
  Commodities less food and
     energy commodities....    -.1    .4    .2	  .2   -.3   -.1    .0	     .1
   New vehicles............	.1    .1   -.2	 -.1   -.1   -.2   -.1	    -.1
   Used cars and trucks....   -1.4   1.6    .9	 1.1  -1.6   1.3    .6	    -.4
   Apparel.................	.0   1.1    .4	  .2   -.4  -1.8    .1	   -1.6
   Medical care commodities    -.4   -.2    .2	  .3   -.6   1.2    .1	     .6
  Services less energy
     services..............	.2    .3    .3	  .3	.3    .2    .3	    3.0
   Shelter.................	.2    .3    .3	  .2	.3    .1    .3	    3.3
   Transportation services	.1    .0    .3	  .4	.3    .1    .0	     .8
   Medical care services...	.5    .4    .5	  .9	.4    .9    .4	    5.1
								
Footnotes:								
(1) Not seasonally adjusted.								




Food

The food index increased 0.1 percent in November following a 0.2-percent rise the
prior month. The index for food at home also rose 0.1 percent, after increasing
0.3 percent in October. Four of the six major grocery store food group indexes
increased in November. The index for dairy and related products rose 0.6 percent
over the month. The indexes for nonalcoholic beverages; meat, poultry, fish, and
eggs; and cereals and bakery products also increased in November.

The index for fruits and vegetables fell 0.7 percent in November after rising 0.9
percent in October, with the fresh fruit index declining 1.6 percent. The index
for other food at home was unchanged over the month.

The index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in November, as it did in
October. The indexes for full service meals increased 0.3 percent in November,
while the index for limited service meals increased 0.1 percent over the month.
The food away from home index has increased every month since being unchanged in
June 2017.

The food at home index increased 1.0 percent over the last 12 months. All the
major grocery store food group indexes rose over the period, with increases
ranging from 0.4 percent (both the other food at home index and the fruits and
vegetables index) to 2.6 percent (the dairy and related products index). The
index for food away from home rose 3.2 percent over the last year, as the index
for full service meals increased 3.6 percent and the index for limited service
meals rose 3.0 percent.

Energy

The energy index increased 0.8 percent in November after rising 2.7 percent in
October. The gasoline index rose 1.1 percent in November following a 3.7-percent
increase in October. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices fell 1.1 percent
in November.) Other major energy indexes also rose in November, with the index
for natural gas rising 1.1 percent and the index for electricity increasing 0.3
percent.

The energy index declined 0.6 percent over the past 12 months. The gasoline index
fell 1.2 percent and the fuel oil index decreased 6.7 percent over the year. In
contrast, the index for natural gas rose 1.l percent and the index for electricity
advanced 0.5 percent.
 
All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in November,
as it did in October. The medical care index increased 0.3 percent. The index for
hospital services also rose 0.3 percent and the index for physicians' services
increased 0.1 percent. The index for prescription drugs fell 0.1 percent in
November after increasing 1.8 percent in October.

The shelter index rose 0.3 percent in November. The index for rent also rose 0.3
percent, while the index for owners’ equivalent rent increased 0.2 percent over
the month. The index for lodging away from home rose 1.1 percent in November after
falling 3.8 percent in October. The education index and the apparel index both
increased 0.1 percent over the month.

The recreation index rose 0.4 percent in November, after rising 0.7 percent in
October. Most of its major component indexes increased, including cable and
satellite television services (0.4 percent) and sporting goods (0.9 percent).
The index for used cars and trucks rose 0.6 percent in November after rising 1.3
percent in October.

The new vehicles index fell 0.1 percent in November, its fifth consecutive
decline. The index for airline fares fell 0.9 percent in November, while the
index for motor vehicle insurance fell 0.2 percent. The index for household
furnishings and operations was unchanged in November.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent over the past 12
months. The shelter index rose 3.3 percent over the 12-month span, and the medical
care index rose 4.2 percent. Most other major component indexes increased over
the 12-month span, although the indexes for apparel, for used cars and trucks,
and for motor vehicle insurance declined.

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.1 percent
over the last 12 months to an index level of 257.208 (1982-84=100). For the month,
the index decreased 0.1 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.  

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
increased 1.9 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 250.644 
(1982-84=100). For the month, the index decreased 0.1 percent prior to seasonal
adjustment.  

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 1.9
percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index decreased 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 December 2019 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday,
January 14, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. (EST). 



Technical Note

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 population.

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 quarterly revisions.

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 https://www.bls.gov/cpi/tables/variance-estimates/home.htm.

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 www.bls.gov/cpi/seasonal-adjustment/timeline-seasonal-adjustment-methodology-changes.htm. 
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.

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.

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 unadjusted data.
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.

Contact Information

For additional information about the CPI visit www.bls.gov/cpi or contact the CPI Information and
Analysis Section at 202-691-7000 or cpi_info@bls.gov.

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 cpiseas@bls.gov.

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. 

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Last Modified Date: December 11, 2019