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CONSUMER PRICE INDEX – APRIL 2017
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent
in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.2 percent
before seasonal adjustment.
Increases in indexes for shelter, energy, tobacco, and food all contributed
to the monthly increase in the all items index. The energy index rose 1.1 percent,
with all 3 of its major component indexes rising. The food index rose 0.2 percent,
mostly due to a sharp increase in the index for fresh vegetables.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in April after
declining in March. The shelter index increased 0.3 percent, and the tobacco index
increased sharply over the month. However, many indexes declined in April,
including those for wireless phone services, medical care, motor vehicle insurance,
apparel, used cars and trucks, recreation, and new vehicles.
The all items index rose 2.2 percent for the 12 months ending April. While a
smaller increase than the 2.4 percent rise for the 12 months ending March, this
is still a larger rise than the 1.7 percent average annual increase over the past
10 years. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.9 percent over the
last 12 months; this compares to a 1.8 percent average annual increase over the
past decade. The energy index rose 9.3 percent over the last year, while the food
index increased 0.5 percent.
Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
Seasonally adjusted changes from
Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. ended
2016 2016 2016 2017 2017 2017 2017 Apr.
All items.................. .3 .2 .3 .6 .1 -.3 .2 2.2
Food...................... .0 .0 .0 .1 .2 .3 .2 .5
Food at home............. -.2 -.1 -.2 .0 .3 .5 .2 -.8
Food away from home (1).. .1 .1 .2 .4 .2 .2 .2 2.3
Energy.................... 2.5 1.0 1.2 4.0 -1.0 -3.2 1.1 9.3
Energy commodities....... 4.8 2.0 2.4 7.6 -2.8 -6.0 1.3 14.5
Gasoline (all types).... 5.1 2.1 2.4 7.8 -3.0 -6.2 1.2 14.3
Fuel oil (1)............ 5.9 -1.2 6.0 3.5 -.4 -.8 -.3 22.1
Energy services.......... .4 .0 .0 .3 1.0 -.3 .9 4.4
Electricity............. .3 .0 .0 .0 .8 -.1 .6 2.4
Utility (piped) gas
service.............. .9 .2 .1 1.5 1.5 -.8 2.2 12.0
All items less food and
energy................. .1 .2 .2 .3 .2 -.1 .1 1.9
Commodities less food and
energy commodities.... .0 -.2 .0 .4 .0 -.3 -.2 -.6
New vehicles............ .2 .0 .1 .9 -.2 -.3 -.2 .4
Used cars and trucks.... -.1 .2 .2 -.4 -.6 -.9 -.5 -4.6
Apparel................. .2 -.3 -.4 1.4 .6 -.7 -.3 .5
Medical care commodities .2 -.4 .5 .3 -.2 .2 -.8 2.6
Services less energy
services.............. .2 .3 .3 .3 .3 -.1 .1 2.7
Shelter................. .3 .3 .3 .2 .3 .1 .3 3.5
Transportation services -.1 .5 .5 .6 .7 .4 -.2 3.1
Medical care services... .1 .2 .2 .2 .2 .1 .0 3.1
1 Not seasonally adjusted.
The food index rose 0.2 percent in April, its fourth consecutive increase. The
index for food at home advanced 0.2 percent, following a 0.5-percent increase
in March. The index for fruits and vegetables rose 2.2 percent as the index for
fresh vegetables increased 5.1 percent, its largest increase since February 2011.
Four of the five remaining major grocery store food group indexes declined in
April. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs fell 0.6 percent after rising
in each of the 3 previous months. The cereals and bakery products index fell 0.3
percent, as did the index for nonalcoholic beverages. The dairy index fell 0.2
percent in April after a 0.6 percent decline in March. The index for other food
at home rose slightly in April, increasing 0.1 percent.
The food at home index fell 0.8 percent over the past year as 5 of the 6 major
grocery store food group indexes declined. The exception was the fruits and
vegetables index, which rose 0.7 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish,
and eggs decreased 3.0 percent over the last year, and the remaining groups
posted smaller declines. The index for food away from home advanced 0.2 percent
in April, and rose 2.3 percent over the last 12 months.
The energy index increased 1.1 percent in April following declines in February
and March. All of the major energy component indexes increased in April after
falling in March. The gasoline index, which fell 6.2 percent in March, increased
1.2 percent in April. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices increased 4.0
percent in April.) The index for natural gas rose 2.2 percent, and the electricity
index increased 0.6 percent over the month.
All of the energy component indexes increased over the last year. The gasoline
index rose 14.3 percent, and the index for natural gas increased 12.0 percent.
The electricity index advanced more modestly, rising 2.4 percent.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in April
after declining in March. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent. 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 2.1 percent after declining
2.4 percent in March. The tobacco index rose 4.2 percent in April, its largest
increase since April 2009. The indexes for alcoholic beverages, education, and
personal care also increased in April.
Several indexes posted declines in April. The index for communication fell
0.6 percent as the index for wireless telephone services continued to fall,
decreasing 1.7 percent in April after a 7.0-percent decline in March. The
medical care index fell 0.2 percent in April, with medical care component
indexes mixed. The physicians' services index fell 1.2 percent, and the
index for prescription drugs declined 0.9 percent, but the hospital services
index rose 1.0 percent.
The index for motor vehicle insurance fell 0.4 percent in April, ending a
streak of 17 consecutive monthly increases. The index for used cars and trucks
fell 0.5 percent in April, its fourth consecutive decline, and the new vehicles
index decreased 0.2 percent. The apparel index fell 0.3 percent, and the indexes
for recreation, household furnishings and operations, and airline fares also
The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.9 percent over the past
12 months; this was the first 12-month increase below 2.0 percent since the
period ending October 2015. The shelter index rose 3.5 percent over the year,
and the index for medical care rose 3.0 percent. The education index, which has
been increasing more slowly recently than it typically has in the past, rose
2.4 percent over the last 12 months. The index for communication fell 6.5
percent over the past year, the largest decline since the inception of the
index in 1993; the index for wireless phone services declined 12.9 percent
over the year.
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.2
percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 244.524 (1982-84=100).
For the month, the index rose 0.3 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
increased 2.1 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 238.432
(1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.3 percent prior to seasonal
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased
2.1 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index rose 0.3 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 May 2017 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday,
June 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: www.bls.gov/cpi/georevision2018.htm.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have general questions about the CPI, please call our information
staff at (202) 691-7000 or email@example.com.
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 labor force.
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 12-month period.
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