WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 19, 2012) — The Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers decreased 0.3 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the past 12 months, the all items index increased 1.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The gasoline index declined 6.8 percent in May, leading to a sharp decrease in the energy index and the decline in the all items index. The indexes for natural gas and fuel oil declined as well, though the electricity index increased. The food index was unchanged, with a slight decline in the index for food at home offsetting an increase in the food away from home index.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in May, the third consecutive such increase. The indexes contributing to the increase were largely the same ones as in April: shelter, medical care, used cars and trucks, apparel, airline fares, and new vehicles. The indexes for household furnishings and operations and for tobacco declined.
The 12-month change in the index for all items was 1.7 percent in May; this figure has been declining steadily since its 3.9 percent recent peak in September 2011. The decline has been driven mostly by the energy index, which decreased 3.9 percent over the last 12 months. This was its first 12-month decline since October 2009. The 12-month change in the food index, which was 4.7 percent as recently as December, fell to 2.8 percent in May. The 12-month change in the index for all items less food and energy was 2.3 percent in May, the same figure as in April and March.
Consumer Price Index Data for May 2012
The food index was unchanged in May after increasing 0.2 percent in April. The index for food at home fell 0.1 percent in May as four of the six major grocery store food groups declined. The index for nonalcoholic beverages fell 0.6 percent in May while the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs declined 0.5 percent; both indexes rose in April. The index for dairy and related products declined 0.4 percent in May, its fourth consecutive decline, while the cereals and bakery products index decreased 0.1 percent. The fruits and vegetables index, in contrast, rose 0.4 percent in May, while the index for other food at home rose 0.3 percent, its sixth consecutive increase. The food at home index has risen 2.7 percent over the last 12 months, with the fruits and vegetables index declining 0.4 percent over that span and the other five groups increasing from 1.2 percent (non-alcoholic beverages) to 4.8 percent (other food at home). The index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in May and has increased 2.9 percent over the last 12 months.
The energy index declined 4.3 percent in May after a 1.7 percent decline in April. The gasoline index fell 6.8 percent, its largest one-month decline since December 2008. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices decreased 3.6 percent in May.) The fuel oil index also continued to fall, declining 2.8 percent. The index for energy services decreased for the eighth consecutive month, falling 0.7 percent as a 4.1 percent decline in the index for natural gas more than offset a 0.3 percent increase in the index for electricity. Over the past 12 months, the electricity index has edged up 0.2 percent but the other major energy indexes have declined. The gasoline index has fallen 4.0 percent, the fuel oil index has declined 1.1 percent, and the index for natural gas has decreased 14.9 percent.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in May, the same increase as in April. The index for shelter rose 0.2 percent for the eighth month in a row, with the rent index up 0.2 percent and the index for owners’ equivalent rent up 0.1 percent. The index for lodging away from home rose 1.5 percent in May after declining in April. The index for medical care rose 0.4 percent, its largest increase since November, as the index for hospital services rose 0.6 percent for the second month in a row. The index for used cars and trucks posted its third consecutive significant increase, rising 1.0 percent. The apparel index also continued to rise, repeating its April increase of 0.4 percent. The index for airline fares, up 2.1 percent in April, rose 1.0 percent in May, while the new vehicles index increased for the fourth month in a row, rising 0.2 percent. The indexes for recreation and personal care each rose 0.1 percent in May. Among the few indexes to decline were household furnishings and operations, which declined 0.3 percent, and tobacco, which fell 0.2 percent.
The index for all items less food and energy has risen 2.3 percent over the last 12 months, the same figure as the previous two months. The shelter component also has risen 2.3 percent over that span. Indexes rising at a slower rate include household furnishings and operations (0.6 percent), recreation (0.9 percent), and new vehicles (1.3 percent). Indexes rising more rapidly include apparel (4.4 percent), medical care (3.6 percent), and used cars and trucks (3.5 percent).
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 229.815 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index decreased 0.1 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 226.600 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index decreased 0.2 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 1.6 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index decreased 0.1 percent on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the post-2010 period are subject to revision.