Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until
8:30 a.m. (EST) January 18, 2017 USDL-17-0058
Technical information: (202) 691-7000 email@example.com www.bls.gov/cpi
Media Contact: (202) 691-5902 PressOffice@bls.gov
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX – DECEMBER 2016
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent
in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.1 percent
before seasonal adjustment.
Continuing their recent trends, the shelter and gasoline indexes increased in
December and were largely responsible for the seasonally adjusted all items
increase. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent in December, while the gasoline
index increased 3.0 percent.
Recent trends also continued in the food indexes, as the food at home index
again declined, offsetting an increase in the index for food away from home
and leaving the overall food index unchanged for the sixth consecutive month.
The energy index continued to rise, advancing 1.5 percent in December,
primarily due to an increase in the gasoline index.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in December,
the same increase as in November. Along with the shelter index, the indexes
for motor vehicle insurance, medical care, education, airline fares, used
cars and trucks, and new vehicles were among the indexes that increased.
The indexes for apparel and communication declined in December.
The all items index rose 2.1 percent for the 12 months ending December. This
figure has been steadily rising since July, and is the largest 12-month
increase since the period ending June 2014. The index for all items less
food and energy rose 2.2 percent for the 12 months ending December, and the
energy index increased 5.4 percent. In contrast, the food index declined
0.2 percent over the last 12 months.
Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
Seasonally adjusted changes from
June July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. ended
2016 2016 2016 2016 2016 2016 2016 Dec.
All items.................. .2 .0 .2 .3 .4 .2 .3 2.1
Food...................... -.1 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0 .0 -.2
Food at home............. -.3 -.2 -.2 -.1 -.2 -.1 -.2 -2.0
Food away from home (1).. .2 .2 .2 .2 .1 .1 .2 2.3
Energy.................... 1.3 -1.6 .0 2.9 3.5 1.2 1.5 5.4
Energy commodities....... 3.3 -4.4 -.9 5.5 6.7 2.5 3.0 9.0
Gasoline (all types).... 3.3 -4.7 -.9 5.8 7.0 2.7 3.0 9.1
Fuel oil (1)............ 3.3 -1.3 -2.5 2.4 5.9 -1.2 6.0 12.7
Energy services.......... -.5 1.0 .8 .7 .5 -.1 -.1 2.2
Electricity............. -.5 .5 .5 .7 .4 .0 .0 .7
Utility (piped) gas
service.............. -.4 3.1 2.1 .8 .9 -.4 -.4 7.8
All items less food and
energy................. .2 .1 .3 .1 .1 .2 .2 2.2
Commodities less food and
energy commodities.... -.3 -.1 .1 -.1 .1 -.3 .0 -.6
New vehicles............ -.2 .2 .0 -.1 .2 -.1 .1 .3
Used cars and trucks.... -1.1 -1.0 -.6 -.3 -.1 .3 .5 -3.5
Apparel................. -.4 .0 .2 -.7 .3 -.5 -.7 -.1
Medical care commodities .8 .5 1.4 .6 .1 -.5 .4 4.7
Services less energy
services.............. .3 .2 .3 .2 .2 .3 .3 3.1
Shelter................. .3 .2 .3 .4 .4 .3 .3 3.6
Transportation services .3 -.2 .1 .0 -.2 .4 .6 2.8
Medical care services... .2 .5 1.0 .0 .0 .2 .1 3.9
1 Not seasonally adjusted.
The food index was unchanged in December. The food at home index continued to
decline, falling 0.2 percent, its eighth consecutive decrease. Four of the six
major grocery store food group indexes fell in December. The fruits and
vegetables index posted the largest decline, falling 1.1 percent as the index
for fresh fruits declined 2.2 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and
eggs fell 0.4 percent in December as the beef index fell 0.8 percent and the
index for eggs decreased 3.9 percent. The index for nonalcoholic beverages fell
0.3 percent, and the cereals and bakery products index declined 0.1 percent.
The index for dairy and related products increased 0.4 percent in December after
falling in November, and the index for other food at home rose 0.3 percent. The
index for food away from home also increased, rising 0.2 percent following a
0.1 percent increase in November.
The energy index rose 1.5 percent in December, its fourth straight increase. The
gasoline index, which rose 2.7 percent in November, increased 3.0 percent in
December. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices increased 1.8 percent in
December.) The electricity index remained unchanged in December. The index for
natural gas fell 0.4 percent in December, its second straight decline following
4 months of increases.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in December.
The shelter index rose 0.3 percent in December, the same increase as in November,
with the indexes for rent and owners' equivalent rent both repeating their
November increases of 0.3 percent. The index for motor vehicle insurance rose
0.8 percent in December following a 1.0 percent rise the prior month. The medical
care index, which was unchanged in October and November, rose 0.2 percent in
December. The hospital services index rose 0.3 percent, and the index for
prescription drugs increased 0.2 percent.
The education index also increased in December, rising 0.5 percent. The index for
airline fares increased 1.9 percent after declining in November. The index for
used cars and trucks rose 0.5 percent, its largest increase since April 2015. The
index for new vehicles increased slightly, rising 0.1 percent after falling
0.1 percent in November. Also increasing in December were the indexes for tobacco
(0.4 percent), personal care (0.3 percent), household furnishings and operations
(0.1 percent), and alcoholic beverages (0.1 percent).
The recreation index was unchanged in December. The apparel index, which fell
0.5 percent in November, declined 0.7 percent in December. The communication
index also fell in December, decreasing 0.1 percent.
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 241.432 (1982-84=100). For the month,
the index was unchanged prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
increased 2.0 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 235.390
(1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.1 percent prior to seasonal
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased
2.0 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index was unchanged
on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the past
10 to 12 months are subject to revision.
Year in Review
The CPI rose 2.1 percent in 2016, a larger increase than the 0.8 percent rise in
2014 and the 0.7 percent advance in 2015. This also represented a larger increase
than the 1.8 percent average annual increase over the past 10 years.
The food index declined in 2016, falling 0.2 percent. This was its first yearly
decline since 2009. The food at home index, which fell 0.4 percent in 2015,
decreased 2.0 percent in 2016. This is the first time the food at home index
declined in consecutive years since it declined four years in a row from 1952
All six major grocery store food group indexes declined in 2016. The index for
meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which declined 2.2 percent in 2015, fell
5.4 percent in 2016, with the index for eggs declining 33.8 percent. The index
for fruits and vegetables fell 2.4 percent in 2016 after rising in 2015. The
dairy and related products index fell 1.3 percent in 2016 following a
3.9-percent decline in 2015. The indexes for nonalcoholic beverages, cereals
and bakery products, and other food at home all posted small declines in 2016
after rising in 2015.
The index for food away from home rose 2.3 percent in 2016 after a 2.6-percent
increase the prior year. Over the last 10 years, the food index rose at an annual
rate of 2.3 percent. The food at home index rose at a 2.0 percent rate, and the
food away from home index increased at a 2.7 percent rate since December 2006.
The energy index rose 5.4 percent in 2016 after declining in 2015 and 2014. The
gasoline index increased 9.1 percent in 2016 after sharp decreases in 2015 and
2014. The index for natural gas also turned up in 2016, rising 7.8 percent after
a 14.9-percent decline the prior year. The electricity index rose modestly in 2016,
increasing 0.7 percent after a 1.2-percent decline in 2015. The energy index rose
at a 0.4 percent annual rate over the past 10 years.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2 percent in 2016, similar to
its 2.1-percent increase in 2015. The shelter index continued to steadily
accelerate, rising 3.6 percent in 2016 after increasing 3.2 percent in 2015,
2.9 percent in 2014, and 2.5 percent in 2013. The rent index rose 4.0 percent in
2016, while the index for owners' equivalent rent increased 3.6 percent.
The medical care index, which rose 2.6 percent in 2015, increased 4.1 percent in
2016. This was its largest December-to-December increase since 2007. The index for
prescription drugs rose 6.2 percent, and the hospital services index increased
4.4 percent. The index for motor vehicle insurance rose 7.0 percent in 2016, its
largest annual rise since 2002.
The education index increased 2.7 percent in 2016, compared to a 3.7-percent rise
the prior year. The index for tobacco rose 3.6 percent, and the alcoholic beverages
index increased 1.4 percent. The recreation index rose 0.8 percent in 2016, similar
to its 2015 advance of 0.7 percent. The index for new vehicles also continued to
rise modestly, increasing 0.3 percent in 2016 following a 0.2-percent increase in
2015 and a 0.5-percent advance in 2014.
Several indexes declined in 2016. The index for airline fares fell for the fourth
year in a row, falling 4.7 percent. The index for used cars and trucks, which
increased in 2015, fell 3.5 percent in 2016. The index for communication fell for
the seventh year in a row, falling 2.6 percent, and the index for household
furnishings and operations declined 1.1 percent. The apparel index declined
slightly in 2016, falling 0.1 percent, its third consecutive yearly decline.
The Consumer Price Index for January 2017 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday,
February 15, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. (EST)
Consumer Price Index Geographic Revision for 2018
In January 2018, BLS will introduce a new geographic area sample for the Consumer Price
Index (CPI). The 2018 revision utilizes the 2010 Decennial Census and incorporates an
updated area sample design, changes the frequency of publication for several local area
indexes, and establishes some new local area and aggregate indexes. The first indexes
using the new structure will be published in February 2018. Additional information on
the geographic revision is available at: www.bls.gov/cpi/georevision2018.htm.
Recalculated Seasonally Adjusted Indexes to be Available on February 13, 2017
Each year with the release of the January CPI, seasonal adjustment factors are
recalculated to reflect price movements from the just-completed calendar year.
This routine annual recalculation may result in revisions to seasonally adjusted
indexes for the previous 5 years. BLS will make available recalculated seasonally
adjusted indexes, as well as recalculated seasonal adjustment factors, for the
period January 2012 through December 2016, on Monday, February 13, 2017 at
8:30 a.m. (EST), two days before the scheduled release of the January 2017 CPI on
Wednesday, February 15, 2017.
The revised indexes and seasonal factors will be available at
https://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpisapage.htm under “Revised Seasonally Adjusted Indexes
and Factors, 2012-2016.”
For additional information, please contact us at (202) 691-6968 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Note on the 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 five years of seasonally adjusted
data. For more information on data revisions and exceptions to the usual revision
schedule, please see the Fact Sheet on Seasonal Adjustment
(https://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpisaqanda.htm) and the Timeline of Seasonal Adjustment
Methodological Changes (https://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpiseastimeline.htm).
How to Use Seasonally Adjusted and Unadjusted Data
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 changing climatic conditions, 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.
2016 Series Adjusted Using Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment
For the seasonal factors introduced in January 2016, BLS adjusted 37 series using
Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment, including selected food and beverage items,
motor fuels and natural gas. 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.
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 five 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 five years of data. Seasonally adjusted indexes beyond the
last five years of data are considered to be final and not subject to revision. In
January 2016, revised seasonal factors and seasonally adjusted indexes for 2011-2015
were calculated and published. For directly adjusted series, the seasonal factors for
2015 will be applied to data in 2016 to produce the seasonally adjusted 2016 indexes.
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 five years, but the seasonally adjusted indexes before that period
will not be changed. 28 of the 81 components of the U.S. city average all items index
are not seasonally adjusted for 2016.
For additional information on seasonal adjustment in the CPI, please contact us at
(202)691-6968 or email@example.com. If you have general questions about the CPI, please
call our information staff at (202) 691-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facilities for Sensory Impaired
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 designed 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 www.bls.gov/cpi/
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 2014." These
data are available on the CPI home page (www.bls.gov/cpi), or by using the following
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
Less previous index 201.800
Equals index point change .616
Index point difference .616
Divided by the previous index 201.800
Results multiplied by one hundred 0.003x100
Equals percent change 0.3