January 21, 2009
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.7 percent in December, the third consecutive decline.
Declining energy prices, particularly for gasoline, again drove most of the decline. The energy index declined 8.3 percent in December. Within energy, the gasoline index fell 17.2 percent and accounted for almost 90 percent of the decrease in the all items index. The index for household energy declined 0.7 percent.
Excluding energy, the index was virtually unchanged for the third straight month. The food index declined 0.1 percent in December, the first decrease since April 2006, as many meat, dairy, fruit, and vegetable indexes decreased. The index for all items excluding food and energy was virtually unchanged in December.
For the 12-month period ending in December 2008, the CPI-U rose 0.1 percent, as shown in the chart. This was the smallest calendar year change since a 0.7-percent decline in 1954 and compares with a 4.1-percent increase for the 12 months ended December 2007.