Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until
8:30 a.m. (EDT) June 14, 2017 USDL-17-0816
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CONSUMER PRICE INDEX – MAY 2017
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.1 percent
in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 1.9 percent.
A decrease in the energy index was the main contributor to the monthly decrease
in the all items index. The energy index fell 2.7 percent, led by a decline of
6.4 percent in the gasoline index. The food index rose 0.2 percent, due to
increases in four of the six major grocery store food group indexes.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in May, as it
did in April. The shelter index increased 0.2 percent over the month. However,
many indexes declined in May, including those for apparel, airline fares,
communication, and medical care services.
The all items index rose 1.9 percent for the 12 months ending May, a smaller
increase than the 2.2- percent rise for the 12 months ending April. This
month’s increase is still a larger rise than the 1.6- percent average annual
increase over the past 10 years. The index for all items less food and energy
rose 1.7 percent over the previous 12 months; this compares to a 1.8-percent
average annual increase over the past decade. The energy index rose 5.4 percent
over the last year, while the food index increased 0.9 percent.
Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
Seasonally adjusted changes from
Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May 12-mos.
2016 2016 2017 2017 2017 2017 2017 ended
All items.................. .2 .3 .6 .1 -.3 .2 -.1 1.9
Food...................... .0 .0 .1 .2 .3 .2 .2 .9
Food at home............. -.1 -.2 .0 .3 .5 .2 .1 -.2
Food away from home (1).. .1 .2 .4 .2 .2 .2 .2 2.3
Energy.................... 1.0 1.2 4.0 -1.0 -3.2 1.1 -2.7 5.4
Energy commodities....... 2.0 2.4 7.6 -2.8 -6.0 1.3 -6.2 6.1
Gasoline (all types).... 2.1 2.4 7.8 -3.0 -6.2 1.2 -6.4 5.8
Fuel oil (1)............ -1.2 6.0 3.5 -.4 -.8 -.3 -2.8 11.9
Energy services.......... .0 .0 .3 1.0 -.3 .9 .7 4.8
Electricity............. .0 .0 .0 .8 -.1 .6 .3 2.7
Utility (piped) gas
service.............. .2 .1 1.5 1.5 -.8 2.2 1.9 12.8
All items less food and
energy................. .2 .2 .3 .2 -.1 .1 .1 1.7
Commodities less food and
energy commodities.... -.2 .0 .4 .0 -.3 -.2 -.3 -.8
New vehicles............ .0 .1 .9 -.2 -.3 -.2 -.2 .3
Used cars and trucks.... .2 .2 -.4 -.6 -.9 -.5 -.2 -4.3
Apparel................. -.3 -.4 1.4 .6 -.7 -.3 -.8 -.9
Medical care commodities -.4 .5 .3 -.2 .2 -.8 .4 3.3
Services less energy
services.............. .3 .3 .3 .3 -.1 .1 .2 2.6
Shelter................. .3 .3 .2 .3 .1 .3 .2 3.3
Transportation services .5 .5 .6 .7 .4 -.2 .3 2.9
Medical care services... .2 .2 .2 .2 .1 .0 -.1 2.5
1 Not seasonally adjusted.
The food index rose 0.2 percent in May, its fifth consecutive monthly increase.
The index for food at home advanced 0.1 percent, with the major grocery store
food group indexes mixed. The nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials index
rose 1.1 percent in May. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.3
percent, after a 0.6-percent decline in April. The dairy and related products
index also increased 0.3 percent in May, as did the index for cereals and bakery
The remaining major grocery store food group indexes declined in May. The fruits
and vegetables index declined 0.6 percent in May after a 2.2-percent increase in
April. The index for other food at home fell slightly in May, decreasing 0.1
The food at home index fell 0.2 percent over the past year, due in large part to
the impact of a 2.1-percent decline in the index for meats, poultry, fish, and
eggs over that time period. The index for cereals and bakery products declined 0.2
percent over the same period. The index for nonalcoholic beverages posted an
increase of 0.9 percent over the past 12 months, while the fruits and vegetables
index increased 0.8 percent. The indexes for dairy and other food at home posted
smaller increases. The index for food away from home advanced 0.2 percent in May,
and rose 2.3 percent over the last 12 months.
The energy index decreased 2.7 percent in May following a 1.1-percent increase in
April. The gasoline index fell 6.4 percent in May after a 1.2-percent increase in
April. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices decreased 1.4 percent in May.)
The index for natural gas rose 1.9 percent, and the electricity index increased 0.3
percent over the month.
All of the energy component indexes increased over the last year. The gasoline
index rose 5.8 percent, and the index for natural gas increased 12.8 percent. The
electricity index advanced more modestly, rising 2.7 percent.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in May, as it
did in April. The shelter index rose 0.2 percent, as the rent index increased 0.3
percent, and the index for owners' equivalent rent advanced 0.2 percent. The index
for lodging away from home rose 0.1 percent after increasing 2.1 percent in April.
The index for motor vehicle insurance increased 1.1 percent in May, returning to a
longstanding upward trend after a decline of 0.4 percent in the preceding month.
Several indexes posted declines in May. The indexes for communication, new vehicles,
and used cars and trucks all declined 0.2 percent over the month. Indexes for
apparel and alcoholic beverages also declined.
The medical care index was unchanged in May, with medical care component indexes
mixed. The physicians' services index fell 0.2 percent. The index for prescription
drugs increased 0.3 percent, and the hospital services index rose 0.1 percent.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent over the past 12
months. The shelter index rose 3.3 percent over the year, and the index for medical
care rose 2.7 percent. The education index rose 2.3 percent over the last 12 months.
The index for recreation increased by 0.9 percent over the past year, while the
index for communication fell 6.3 percent.
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.9 percent over
the last 12 months to an index level of 244.733 (1982-84=100). For the month, the
index rose 0.1 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
increased 1.8 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 238.609
(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 1.7
percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index rose 0.1 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 June 2017 is scheduled to be released on Friday,
July 14, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT)
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:
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.
2017 Series Adjusted Using Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment
For the seasonal factors introduced in January 2017, BLS adjusted 40 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 2009 return to normal
pricing after 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 2017, revised seasonal factors and seasonally adjusted indexes for 2012-2016
were calculated and published. For directly adjusted series, the seasonal factors for
2016 will be applied to data in 2017 to produce the seasonally adjusted 2017 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. 27 of the 81 components of the U.S. city average all items index are
not seasonally adjusted for 2017.
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
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 0.03 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 0.06 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 for All Urban Consumers, 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 "Variance Estimates for Price Changes in the Consumer
Price Index, January-December 2016." These data are available on the CPI home page
(www.bls.gov/cpi), or by using the following link: www.bls.gov/cpi/cpivar2016.pdf.
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
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