Consumer Price Index Summary


 Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                                        
 8:30 a.m. (EDT) May 10, 2019                     USDL-19-0776

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

 CONSUMER PRICE INDEX – APRIL 2019

 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 
 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.4 percent 
 in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the 
 last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.0 percent before seasonal 
 adjustment.

 The gasoline index continued to increase, rising 5.7 percent and accounting 
 for over two-thirds of the seasonally adjusted all items monthly increase. 
 The index for energy rose 2.9 percent, although the index for natural gas 
 declined and the index for electricity was unchanged. The food index fell 
 in April, its first monthly decline since June 2017.  

 The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent for the 
 third consecutive month. The indexes for shelter, medical care, education, 
 and new vehicles all rose in April. The indexes for used cars and trucks, 
 apparel, and household furnishings and operations were among those that 
 declined over the month.    

 The all items index increased 2.0 percent for the 12 months ending April, 
 the largest 12-month increase since the period ending November 2018. The 
 index for all items less food and energy rose 2.1 percent over the last 
 12 months, and the food index rose 1.8 percent. The energy index increased 
 1.7 percent over the past year after posting 12-month declines the past 4 
 months.

 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.
                              Oct.  Nov.  Dec.  Jan.  Feb.  Mar.  Apr.   ended 
                              2018  2018  2018  2019  2019  2019  2019   Apr.  
                                                                         2019  
                                                                               
                                                                               
 All items..................    .3    .0    .0    .0    .2    .4    .3      2.0
  Food......................    .0    .2    .3    .2    .4    .3   -.1      1.8
   Food at home.............   -.1    .1    .3    .1    .4    .4   -.5       .7
   Food away from home (1)..    .1    .3    .4    .3    .4    .2    .3      3.1
  Energy....................   2.1  -2.8  -2.6  -3.1    .4   3.5   2.9      1.7
   Energy commodities.......   2.6  -5.0  -5.7  -5.3   1.5   6.2   5.4      2.9
    Gasoline (all types)....   2.7  -5.2  -5.8  -5.5   1.5   6.5   5.7      3.1
    Fuel oil................   3.2  -2.9  -9.4  -1.3   2.6   2.1   1.3      -.9
   Energy services..........   1.3    .2   1.5   -.5   -.8    .3   -.1       .0
    Electricity.............   1.8    .2    .4   -.6   -.3    .4    .0       .6
    Utility (piped) gas                                                        
       service..............   -.5    .2   5.1   -.3  -2.4   -.1   -.8     -1.9
  All items less food and                                                      
     energy.................    .2    .2    .2    .2    .1    .1    .1      2.1
   Commodities less food and                                                   
      energy commodities....    .3    .2    .0    .4   -.2   -.2   -.3      -.2
    New vehicles............   -.2    .0    .0    .2   -.2    .4    .1      1.2
    Used cars and trucks....   2.5   2.5   -.5    .1   -.7   -.4  -1.3       .8
    Apparel.................    .2   -.6    .0   1.1    .3  -1.9   -.8     -3.0
    Medical care commodities   -.1    .5   -.4    .1  -1.0    .4    .9       .2
   Services less energy                                                        
      services..............    .2    .2    .2    .2    .2    .3    .3      2.8
    Shelter.................    .2    .3    .3    .3    .3    .4    .4      3.4
    Transportation services     .1    .0   -.1   -.2   -.1    .0    .1      1.1
    Medical care services...    .2    .4    .4    .3    .0    .3    .2      2.3

   1 Not seasonally adjusted.


 Food

 The food index declined 0.1 percent in April. The index for food at home, which 
 rose 0.4 percent in March, fell 0.5 percent in April. Five of the six major 
 grocery store food group indexes decreased in April. The index for fruits and 
 vegetables declined 0.9 percent in April after rising in February and March. 
 The index for nonalcoholic beverages also declined 0.9 percent in April, and 
 the index for other food at home declined 0.6 percent. 

 The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs fell 0.2 percent in April, the 
 same decrease as in March, and the index for cereals and bakery products declined 
 0.1 percent. The only major grocery store food group index to rise in April was 
 dairy and related products, which increased 0.1 percent after rising 0.6 percent 
 in March. 

 The index for food away from home rose 0.3 percent in April. The index for full 
 service meals rose 0.4 percent, and the index for limited service meals increased 
 0.3 percent. 

 The food index rose 1.8 percent over the past year, with the food at home index 
 increasing 0.7 percent. The indexes for fruits and vegetables and nonalcoholic 
 beverages increased the most among the major grocery store food groups, each 
 rising 2.2 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was the only one 
 to decline over the year, falling 1.1 percent. The index for food away from home 
 rose 3.1 percent over the past year, its largest 12-month increase since February 
 2015.

 Energy

 The energy index rose 2.9 percent in April. The gasoline index rose 5.7 percent 
 in April following a 6.5-percent increase in March. (Before seasonal adjustment, 
 gasoline prices rose 10.3 percent in April.) The electricity index, which increased 
 in March, was unchanged in April. The index for natural gas continued to fall; its 
 0.8-percent decrease in April was its fourth consecutive monthly decline. 

 The energy index increased 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, with its major 
 component indexes mixed. The gasoline index increased 3.1 percent over the past 
 year and the electricity index rose 0.6 percent. The index for natural gas declined 
 1.9 percent and the index for fuel oil fell 0.9 percent. 
 
 All items less food and energy

 The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in April. The 
 shelter index rose 0.4 percent, the same increase as in March. The index for rent 
 increased 0.4 percent and the index for owners’ equivalent rent rose 0.3 percent. 
 The index for lodging away from home rose 1.6 percent in April, its fifth consecutive 
 monthly increase. 

 The medical care index rose 0.3 percent in April, the same increase as in March. 
 The index for hospital services fell 0.5 percent, but the index for prescription 
 drugs rose 0.7 percent and the index for physicians’ services advanced 0.2 percent. 
 The education index increased 0.2 percent in April, and the new vehicles index rose 
 0.1 percent. The indexes for recreation, for communication, and for personal care 
 were all unchanged in April. 

 The index for used cars and trucks fell 1.3 percent in April, its third consecutive 
 monthly decrease. The apparel index decreased 0.8 percent in April following a 
 1.9-percent decline in March. The index for household furnishings and operations 
 fell 0.3 percent in April, its first monthly decline since June 2018. The indexes 
 for alcoholic beverages, for tobacco, and for airline fares also declined in April.  

 The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.1 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 3.4 percent over the year, with the rent index 
 rising 3.8 percent. The medical care index increased 1.9 percent over the past 12 
 months. 

 Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.0 percent over 
 the last 12 months to an index level of 255.548 (1982-84=100). For the month, the 
 index increased 0.5 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 249.332 (1982-84=100). For 
 the month, the index increased 0.6 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.  

 The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 1.8 percent 
 over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.5 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 May 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, June 
 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 5,000 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: May 10, 2019