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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. (ET) February 10, 2021      USDL-21-0226

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

 CONSUMER PRICE INDEX – JANUARY 2021
 
 (NOTE: This news release was reissued February 11, 2021, correcting 29 seasonally
 adjusted CPI-U special relative series in tables 2 and 6. Additional
 information is available at https://www.bls.gov/errata/home.htm?errataID=83404.)

 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent 
 in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 
 reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.4 
 percent before seasonal adjustment.

 The gasoline index continued to increase, rising 7.4 percent in January and 
 accounting for most of the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index. 
 Although the indexes for electricity and natural gas declined, the energy 
 index rose 3.5 percent over the month. The food index rose slightly in January, 
 increasing 0.1 percent as an advance in the index for food away from home more 
 than offset a decline in the index for food at home. 

 The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in January. The 
 indexes for apparel, medical care, shelter, and motor vehicle insurance all 
 increased over the month. The indexes for recreation, used cars and trucks, 
 airline fares, and new vehicles all declined in January. 

 The all items index rose 1.4 percent for the 12 months ending January, the same 
 increase as for the period ending in December. The index for all items less 
 food and energy also rose 1.4 percent over the last 12 months, a smaller 
 increase than the 1.6-percent rise for the 12 months ending December. The food 
 index rose 3.8 percent over the last 12 months. In contrast to these increases, 
 and despite rising in recent months, the energy index declined 3.6 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.
                              July  Aug.  Sep.  Oct.  Nov.  Dec.  Jan.   ended
                              2020  2020  2020  2020  2020  2020  2021   Jan.
                                                                         2021

 All items..................    .5    .4    .2    .1    .2    .2    .3      1.4
  Food......................   -.3    .1    .1    .2    .0    .3    .1      3.8
   Food at home.............   -.9    .0   -.3    .1   -.2    .3   -.1      3.7
   Food away from home (1)..    .5    .3    .6    .3    .1    .4    .3      3.9
  Energy....................   2.1    .9   1.4    .6    .7   2.6   3.5     -3.6
   Energy commodities.......   4.5   2.1   1.4    .7    .5   5.1   7.3     -8.7
    Gasoline (all types)....   4.8   2.1   1.7    .7    .5   5.2   7.4     -8.6
    Fuel oil (1)............   4.5   2.2  -3.0    .7   3.3  10.2   5.4    -16.5
   Energy services..........    .0   -.2   1.3    .5    .9    .2   -.3      2.1
    Electricity.............    .2   -.2    .8    .6    .3    .4   -.2      1.5
    Utility (piped) gas
       service..............   -.7   -.1   3.1    .4   3.0   -.4   -.4      4.3
  All items less food and
     energy.................    .5    .3    .2    .1    .2    .0    .0      1.4
   Commodities less food and
      energy commodities....    .7   1.0    .5    .0    .0    .1    .1      1.7
    New vehicles............    .7    .0    .3    .3    .0    .4   -.5      1.4
    Used cars and trucks....   2.8   5.7   5.3    .9  -1.4   -.9   -.9     10.0
    Apparel.................    .7    .4   -.4   -.9    .7    .9   2.2     -2.5
    Medical care
       commodities (1)......    .0    .3   -.6   -.7   -.4   -.2   -.1     -2.3
   Services less energy
      services..............    .5    .1    .1    .1    .2    .0    .0      1.3
    Shelter.................    .2    .1    .1    .1    .1    .1    .1      1.6
    Transportation services    2.8   -.7   -.3    .2   1.3   -.6   -.3     -4.1
    Medical care services...    .5    .1    .0   -.3   -.1   -.1    .5      2.9

   1 Not seasonally adjusted.


 Food

 The food index increased 0.1 percent in January. The index for food at home 
 fell 0.1 percent over the month as four of the six major grocery store food 
 group indexes declined. The index for cereals and bakery products fell 0.8 
 percent in January, its largest decline since March 2016. The index for dairy 
 and related products fell 0.4 percent after rising the 2 previous months. The 
 index for other food at home fell 0.3 percent, and the index for fruits and 
 vegetables declined 0.2 percent over the month. 
 
 The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose in January, increasing 0.5 
 percent as the index for beef rose 1.1 percent. The nonalcoholic beverages 
 index also increased in January, rising 0.1 percent after a much larger 
 increase the prior month. 

 The food away from home index rose 0.3 percent in January, continuing a long 
 series of increases. The index for limited service meals rose 0.6 percent, 
 while the index for full service meals increased 0.3 percent.

 The food at home index increased 3.7 percent over the past 12 months. All six 
 major grocery store food group indexes increased over the period, with 
 increases ranging from 2.5 percent (cereals and bakery products) to 5.1 
 percent (meats, poultry, fish, and eggs). The index for food away from home 
 rose 3.9 percent over the last year. The index for limited service meals rose 
 6.2 percent, the largest 12-month increase in the history of the index, which 
 began in 1997. The index for full service meals rose 2.9 percent over the 
 last 12 months. 

 Energy

 The energy index continued to rise in January, increasing 3.5 percent. The 
 gasoline index was again the dominant factor in the increase, rising 7.4 
 percent over the month. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 6.9 
 percent in January.) The fuel oil index also rose in January, increasing 5.4 
 percent. However, other energy component indexes declined; the index for 
 electricity fell 0.2 percent over the month, and the index for natural gas 
 fell 0.4 percent.

 The energy index fell 3.6 percent over the past 12 months. Despite recent 
 monthly increases, the gasoline index fell 8.6 percent over the last 12 
 months, and the fuel oil index fell 16.5 percent. The index for electricity, 
 however, rose 1.5 percent over the last 12 months and the index for natural 
 gas increased 4.3 percent. 

 All items less food and energy

 The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in January. The 
 apparel index increased for the third month in a row, rising 2.2 percent. 
 The medical care index rose 0.4 percent in January, although its components 
 were mixed. The index for physicians’ services rose sharply, increasing 1.6 
 percent, and the index for hospital services rose 0.3 percent. The index for 
 prescription drugs, however, declined 0.5 percent over the month. 
 
 The shelter index rose 0.1 percent in January, the same increase as in each 
 of the last 5 months. The indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both 
 increased 0.1 percent. The motor vehicle insurance index rose 1.6 percent in 
 January. The tobacco index also rose in January, increasing 1.8 percent. 
 
 In contrast, the recreation index declined in January, falling 0.6 percent. 
 The index for used cars and trucks continued to fall, decreasing 0.9 percent 
 over the month. The new vehicles index fell 0.5 percent in January after 
 rising in December. The index for airline fares fell in January, declining 
 3.2 percent.  The index for household furnishings and operations fell 0.3 
 percent over the month, and the indexes for communication and for alcoholic 
 beverages also declined in January. The indexes for education and personal 
 care were both unchanged over the month.  

 The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.4 percent over the past 
 12 months. Among the indexes rising more quickly were those for used cars 
 and trucks (10.0 percent), medical care (1.9 percent), and shelter (1.6 
 percent). Among the indexes that declined over the last 12 months were 
 airline fares (-21.3 percent), motor vehicle insurance (-3.7 percent), 
 and apparel (-2.5 percent).

 Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.4 
 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 261.582 (1982-84=100). 
 For the month, the index increased 0.4 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.  
 
 The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) 
 increased 1.6 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 255.296 
 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.5 percent prior to seasonal 
 adjustment.  
 
 The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 
 1.3 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.4 
 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 February 2021 is scheduled to be released on 
 Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. (ET).
 
 
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on January 2021 Consumer Price Index Data

 Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended
 since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either
 online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in January was affected by the temporary closing or
 limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the
 number of prices considered temporarily unavailable and imputed. While the CPI program attempted to
 collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices
 than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month.
 Additional information is available at
 www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.htm.
 
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


 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-13 
 ARIMA-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-2021.xlsx. 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 2021, BLS adjusted 72 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 2021, revised seasonal 
 factors and seasonally adjusted indexes for 2016 to 2020 were calculated and published. 
 For series which are directly adjusted using the Census X-13ARIMA-SEATS seasonal adjustment 
 software, the seasonal factors for 2020 will be applied to data for 2021 to produce the 
 seasonally adjusted 2021 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. Thirty-four of the 81 
 components of the U.S. city average all items index are not seasonally adjusted for 2021.

 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: February 11, 2021