May 16, 2012
Over the last 12 months, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.3 percent before seasonal adjustment. This was the smallest 12-month change since a 2.1-percent increase in February 2010–February 2011.
The housing index increased 1.7 percent from April 2011 to April 2012. Housing is the largest component of the CPI-U, accounting for 40.6 percent of expenditures by consumers. The index for transportation, which accounts for 17.6 percent of consumer expenditures, increased 2.9 percent over the year.
The index for food and beverages (which account for 15.1 percent of consumer expenditures) increased 3.0 percent from April 2011 to April 2012. Prices for food at home rose 3.3 percent over the year, while prices for food away from home rose 2.9 percent.
The index for medical care (which accounts for 7.0 percent of consumer expenditures) rose 3.4 percent from April 2011 to April 2012.
Education and communication accounts for 6.7 percent of consumer expenditures, and the index for this category increased 2.0 percent from April 2011 to April 2012. The index for education rose 4.3 percent over the year, while the index for communication changed little.
The index for recreation (which accounts for 6.0 percent of consumer expenditures) increased 1.1 percent from April 2011 to April 2012. The index for apparel (which accounts for 3.6 percent of consumer expenditures) rose 5.1 percent over the last 12 months, the largest 12-month change (increase or decrease) since January 1990–January 1991.
These data are from the BLS Consumer Price Index program. To learn more, see "Consumer Price Index — April 2012" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-12-0953. The percent of total consumer expenditures for each category is also called the relative importance of the category.