Consumer Price Index Summary



Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                                      
8:30 a.m. (EDT) August 13, 2019                USDL-19-1473

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Media Contact:         (202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov  	  

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX – JULY 2019

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in
July on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.1 percent in June, the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items
index increased 1.8 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Increases in the indexes for gasoline and shelter were the major factors in the
seasonally adjusted all items monthly increase. The energy index rose in July as 
the gasoline and electricity indexes increased, though the natural gas index
declined. The index for food was unchanged for the second month in a row, as a
decline in the food at home index was offset by an increase in the food away from
home index.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 in July, the same increase
as in June. The July rise was broad-based, with increases in the indexes for
shelter, medical care, airline fares, household furnishings and operations,
apparel, and personal care all contributing to the increase. The index for new
vehicles was one of the few to decline in July.   

The all items index increased 1.8 percent for the 12 months ending July, a larger
increase than the 1.6-percent rise for the period ending June. The index for all
items less food and energy rose 2.2 percent over the last 12 months, slightly more
than the 2.1-percent increase for the period ending June. The food index rose 1.8
percent over the last year while the energy index declined 2.0 percent.  


 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.
                              Jan.  Feb.  Mar.  Apr.  May   June  July   ended 
                              2019  2019  2019  2019  2019  2019  2019   July  
                                                                         2019  
                                                                               
                                                                               
 All items..................    .0    .2    .4    .3    .1    .1    .3      1.8
  Food......................    .2    .4    .3   -.1    .3    .0    .0      1.8
   Food at home.............    .1    .4    .4   -.5    .3   -.2   -.1       .6
   Food away from home (1)..    .3    .4    .2    .3    .2    .3    .2      3.2
  Energy....................  -3.1    .4   3.5   2.9   -.6  -2.3   1.3     -2.0
   Energy commodities.......  -5.3   1.5   6.2   5.4   -.4  -3.5   2.4     -3.4
    Gasoline (all types)....  -5.5   1.5   6.5   5.7   -.5  -3.6   2.5     -3.3
    Fuel oil................  -1.3   2.6   2.1   1.3   -.3  -2.3    .6     -6.0
   Energy services..........   -.5   -.8    .3   -.1   -.8   -.7    .0      -.2
    Electricity.............   -.6   -.3    .4    .0   -.8   -.8    .6       .5
    Utility (piped) gas                                                        
       service..............   -.3  -2.4   -.1   -.8  -1.0   -.3  -1.8     -2.9
  All items less food and                                                      
     energy.................    .2    .1    .1    .1    .1    .3    .3      2.2
   Commodities less food and                                                   
      energy commodities....    .4   -.2   -.2   -.3   -.1    .4    .2       .4
    New vehicles............    .2   -.2    .4    .1    .1    .1   -.2       .3
    Used cars and trucks....    .1   -.7   -.4  -1.3  -1.4   1.6    .9      1.5
    Apparel.................   1.1    .3  -1.9   -.8    .0   1.1    .4      -.5
    Medical care commodities    .1  -1.0    .4    .9   -.4   -.2    .2      -.4
   Services less energy                                                        
      services..............    .2    .2    .3    .3    .2    .3    .3      2.8
    Shelter.................    .3    .3    .4    .4    .2    .3    .3      3.5
    Transportation services    -.2   -.1    .0    .1    .1    .0    .3       .7
    Medical care services...    .3    .0    .3    .2    .5    .4    .5      3.3

   1 Not seasonally adjusted.

Food

The food index was unchanged in July. The index for food at home declined 0.1
percent after falling 0.2 percent in June. In July, three of the major grocery
store food group indexes declined and three increased. The index for other food at
home fell 0.7 percent in July after rising 0.7 percent in June. The index for
nonalcoholic beverages fell for the second consecutive month, declining 0.4 percent.
The index for dairy and related products declined 0.3 percent after rising in each
of the previous 5 months.

In contrast, the index for fruits and vegetables rose 0.3 percent in July after
declining in recent months, as the index for fresh vegetables increased 1.3 percent
in July. The index for cereals and bakery products increased 0.3 percent in July,
and the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 0.1 percent; both
indexes declined in June.  

The index for food away from home increased 0.2 percent in July following a
0.3-percent increase in June. The indexes for full service meals and for limited
service meals both rose 0.2 percent. 

Over the last 12 months, the food at home index increased 0.6 percent. The index
for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was unchanged over the span. The remaining major
grocery store food group indexes increased over the last year, but none more than
1.9 percent (nonalcoholic beverages). The index for food away from home rose 3.2
percent over the last year, with both the full service meals and limited service
meals indexes increasing 3.2 percent. 

Energy

The energy index increased 1.3 percent in July after falling 2.3 percent in June.
The gasoline index rose 2.5 percent in July following a 3.6-percent decline in
June. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 0.8 percent in July.) The
index for electricity also increased in July, rising 0.6 percent after falling in
May and June. The index for natural gas decreased in July, falling 1.8 percent,
its seventh consecutive decline.  

Despite the monthly increase, the energy index decreased 2.0 percent over the past
12 months. The gasoline index fell 3.3 percent, and the fuel oil index declined
6.0 percent over the year. The index for natural gas declined 2.9 percent over the
past year, but the index for electricity increased, rising 0.5 percent.  
 
All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.3 percent in July. The
shelter index rose 0.3 percent in July, the same increase as in June. The index
for rent increased 0.3 percent in July and the index for owners’ equivalent rent
advanced 0.2 percent. The medical care index rose 0.5 percent in July as the
hospital services index increased 0.5 percent, the prescription drugs index rose
0.4 percent, and the physicians’ services index advanced 0.2 percent. 

The index for used cars and trucks rose 0.9 percent in July following a 1.6-percent
increase in June. The index for airline fares rose 2.3 percent in July after
declining in June. The index for household furnishings and operations increased 
0.4 percent, its third consecutive monthly increase, and the indexes for
communication, for apparel, and for personal care each also rose 0.4 percent in
July. Also increasing in July were the indexes for motor vehicle insurance, for
tobacco, and for alcoholic beverages.    

The recreation index was unchanged in July after a decline in June. The index for
new vehicles declined in July, falling 0.2 percent after increasing in each of the
previous 4 months.  

The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2 percent over the past 12
months. Most major component indexes increased over the past year, including
shelter (3.5 percent) and medical care (2.6 percent). Exceptions include
communication (-1.3 percent) and apparel (-0.5 percent).  

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 256.571 (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)
increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 250.236
(1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 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 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 August 2019 is scheduled to be released on Thursday,
September 12, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. (EDT). 


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: August 13, 2019