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CPI for all items rises 0.6% in August as gasoline index rises 9.0%

Consumer Price Index - August 2012

 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased
 0.6 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau
 of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all
 items index increased 1.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.
 
 The seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was the
 largest since June 2009. About 80 percent of the increase was
 accounted for by the gasoline index, which rose 9.0 percent and was
 the major factor in the energy index rising sharply in August after
 declining in each of the four previous months.
 
 The food index increased 0.2 percent in August, with major grocery
 store food group indexes mixed. The index for all items less food and
 energy rose 0.1 percent for the second month in a row. The indexes
 for shelter, medical care, personal care, new vehicles, and
 recreation all rose in August. These increases more than offset
 declines in the indexes for used cars and trucks, apparel, household
 furnishings and operations, and airline fares.
 
 The 12-month change in the index for all items was 1.7 percent in
 August, an increase from the July figure of 1.4 percent. The index
 for all items less food and energy rose 1.9 percent for the 12 months
 ending August, a slight decline from the 2.1 percent figure in July
 and its smallest increase since July 2011.
 
 Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
 average
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                  Seasonally adjusted changes from             
                                          preceding month                      
                                                                          Un-  
                                                                       adjusted
                                                                        12-mos.
                              Feb.  Mar.  Apr.  May   June  July  Aug.   ended 
                              2012  2012  2012  2012  2012  2012  2012   Aug.  
                                                                         2012  
                                                                                                                                                              
 All items..................    .4    .3    .0   -.3    .0    .0    .6      1.7
  Food......................    .0    .2    .2    .0    .2    .1    .2      2.0
   Food at home.............    .0    .1    .2   -.1    .1    .0    .1      1.5
   Food away from home (1)..    .1    .2    .3    .2    .2    .2    .3      2.8
  Energy....................   3.2    .9  -1.7  -4.3  -1.4   -.3   5.6      -.6
   Energy commodities.......   5.7   1.7  -2.6  -6.4  -2.3    .2   8.6      1.5
    Gasoline (all types)....   6.0   1.7  -2.6  -6.8  -2.0    .3   9.0      1.8
    Fuel oil (1)............   2.8   2.7  -1.1  -2.8  -7.9   -.5   4.6      -.8
   Energy services..........   -.8   -.4   -.2   -.7    .0  -1.1    .8     -3.7
    Electricity.............    .0   -.8    .2    .3   -.5  -1.3    .2     -1.2
    Utility (piped) gas                                                        
       service..............  -3.4    .9  -1.8  -4.1   1.7   -.2   2.8    -11.2
  All items less food and                                                      
     energy.................    .1    .2    .2    .2    .2    .1    .1      1.9
   Commodities less food and                                                   
      energy commodities....    .1    .2    .2    .2    .2    .0   -.2       .7
    New vehicles............    .6    .2    .4    .2    .2   -.1    .2      1.0
    Used cars and trucks....   -.2   1.3   1.5   1.0    .0   -.5   -.9      -.6
    Apparel.................   -.9    .5    .4    .4    .5    .2   -.5      1.7
    Medical care commodities                                                   
       (1)..................    .8    .4    .0    .0    .1    .5    .3      3.6
   Services less energy                                                        
      services..............    .1    .2    .3    .2    .2    .1    .1      2.4
    Shelter.................    .2    .2    .2    .2    .1    .1    .2      2.1
    Transportation services    -.2    .3    .5    .3   -.2   -.2    .0      1.4
    Medical care services...    .0    .3    .4    .5    .7    .3    .2      4.2

   1 Not seasonally adjusted.

 Consumer Price Index Data for August 2012
 
 Food
 
 The food index rose 0.2 percent in August after a 0.1 percent
 increase in July and has risen 2.0 percent over the past 12 months.
 The food at home index, which was unchanged in July, increased 0.1
 percent in August. The food at home index has been stable in recent
 months, increasing a total of 0.1 percent since April. Three of the
 six major grocery store food group indexes increased in August. The
 fruits and vegetables index increased 0.5 percent in August after
 declining in July, with the index for fresh fruits rising 1.9 percent
 but the fresh vegetables index declining 1.3 percent. The index for
 meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.4 percent in August, its third
 consecutive increase. The index for dairy and related products rose
 0.1 percent, ending a streak of six consecutive declines. In contrast
 to these increases the index for nonalcoholic beverages fell 0.2
 percent in August after a 0.5 percent July decrease, and the index
 for other food at home fell 0.1 percent. The index for cereals and
 bakery products was unchanged in August. The index for food away from
 home rose 0.3 percent in August and has risen 2.8 percent over the
 last 12 months.

 Energy
 
 The energy index, which had declined in each of the four previous
 months, rose 5.6 percent in August. This was its largest increase
 since June 2009. The gasoline index accounted for most of the
 increase, rising 9.0 percent. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline
 prices increased 7.2 percent in August.) However, the other major
 energy indexes, which had all declined in July, increased as well.
 The fuel oil index increased 4.6 percent, the index for natural gas
 rose 2.8 percent, and the electricity index advanced 0.2 percent.
 Over the last 12 months, the energy index has declined 0.6 percent.
 The gasoline index has risen 1.8 percent over that span, but the
 other major indexes have declined, with the index for natural gas
 down 11.2 percent, the electricity index down 1.2 percent, and the
 fuel oil index down 0.8 percent.

 All items less food and energy
 
 The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in
 August, the same increase as in July. The index for shelter, which
 rose 0.1 percent in July, rose 0.2 percent in August. The rent index
 increased 0.2 percent and the index for owners' equivalent rent rose
 0.3 percent, but the index for lodging away from home fell 0.6
 percent. The medical care index rose 0.2 percent in August after
 rising 0.4 percent in July. The indexes for personal care, new
 vehicles, and recreation also increased in August. In contrast to
 these increases, several indexes declined in August. The index for
 used cars and trucks fell 0.9 percent, the apparel index fell 0.5
 percent, and the index for household furnishings and operations fell
 0.3 percent. The index for airline fares fell 1.3 percent in August,
 its third decline in a row, and the tobacco index also declined.
 
 The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.9 percent
 over the last 12 months; this figure has been trending down slightly
 since its recent peak of 2.3 percent in March, April, and May.
 Indexes for most major components have increased over the period,
 though the indexes for used cars and trucks and airline fares show
 declines.  The medical care index rose 4.1 percent and the shelter
 index increased 2.1 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 230.379
 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.6 percent prior
 to seasonal adjustment.
 
 The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers
 (CPI-W) increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months to an index
 level of 227.056  (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased
 0.7 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.
 
 The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U)
 increased 1.5 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the
 index increased 0.4 percent on a not seasonally adjusted basis.
 Please note that the indexes for the post-2010 period are subject to
 revision.
 
 The Consumer Price Index for September 2012 is scheduled to be
 released on Tuesday, October 16, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

 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 29 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 cover approximately 88 percent of the
 total population and include 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, and 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 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000
 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
 http://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 2011".  These data are
 available on the CPI home page (http://www.bls.gov/cpi), or by using
 the following link http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpivar2011.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
 
 CPI
 202.416
 Less previous index
 201.800
 Equals index point change
 .616
 
 Percent Change
 
 Index point difference
 .616
 Divided by the previous index
 201.800
 Equals
 0.003
 Results multiplied by one hundred
 0.003x100
 Equals percent change
 0.3

 Regions Defined

 The states in the four regions are listed below.

 The Northeast--Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New
 York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
 The Midwest--Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota,
 Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
 The South--Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,
 Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South
 Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District
 of Columbia.
 The West--Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho,
 Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.


 A Note on Seasonally Adjusted and Unadjusted Data
 
 Because price data are used for different purposes by different
 groups, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes seasonally adjusted
 as well as unadjusted changes each month.
 
 For analyzing general 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.
 
 The unadjusted data are of primary interest to consumers concerned
 about the prices they actually pay.  Unadjusted data also are 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.

 Seasonal factors used in computing the seasonally adjusted indexes
 are derived by the X-12-ARIMA Seasonal Adjustment Method.  Seasonally
 adjusted indexes and seasonal factors are computed annually.  Each
 year, the last 5 years of seasonally adjusted data are revised.  Data
 from January 2007 through December 2011 were replaced in January
 2012.  Exceptions to the usual revision schedule were: the updated
 seasonal data at the end of 1977 replaced data from 1967 through
 1977; and, in January 2002, dependently seasonally adjusted series
 were revised for January 1987-December 2001 as a result of a change
 in the aggregation weights for dependently adjusted series. For
 further information, please see "Aggregation of Dependently Adjusted
 Seasonally Adjusted Series," in the October 2001 issue of the CPI
 Detailed Report.
 
 Effective with the publication of data from January 2006 through
 December 2010 in January 2011, the Video and audio series and the
 Information technology, hardware and services series were changed
 from independently adjusted to dependently adjusted.  This resulted
 in an increase in the number of seasonal components used in deriving
 seasonal movement of the All items and 54 other lower level
 aggregations, from 73 for the publication of January 1998 through
 December 2005 data to 82 for the publication of seasonally adjusted
 data for January 2006 and later.  Each year the seasonal status of
 every series is reevaluated based upon certain statistical criteria.
 If any of the 82 components 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 5 years, but the seasonally adjusted indexes before that
 period will not be changed.  Note: 38 of the 82 components are not
 seasonally adjusted for 2012.
 
 Seasonally adjusted data, including the all items index levels, are
 subject to revision for up to five years after their original
 release.  For this reason, BLS advises against the use of these data
 in escalation agreements.
 
 Effective with the calculation of the seasonal factors for 1990, the
 Bureau of Labor Statistics has used an enhanced seasonal adjustment
 procedure called Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment for some
 CPI series.  Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment allows for
 better estimates of seasonally adjusted data.  Extreme values and/or
 sharp movements which might distort the seasonal pattern are
 estimated and removed from the data prior to calculation of seasonal
 factors.  Beginning with the calculation of seasonal factors for
 1996, X-12-ARIMA software was used for Intervention Analysis Seasonal
 Adjustment.
 
 For the seasonal factors introduced in January 2012, BLS adjusted 31
 series using Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment, including
 selected food and beverage items, motor fuels, electricity and
 vehicles.  For example, this procedure was used for the Motor fuel
 series to offset the effects of events such as damage to oil
 refineries from Hurricane Katrina.

 For a complete list of Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment
 series and explanations, please refer to the article "Intervention
 Analysis Seasonal Adjustment", located on our website at
 http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpisapage.htm.
 
 For additional information on seasonal adjustment in the CPI, please
 write to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Division of Consumer Prices
 and Price Indexes, Washington, DC 20212 or contact David Levin at
 (202) 691-6968, or by e-mail at Levin.David@bls.gov.  If you have
 general questions about the CPI, please call our information staff at
 (202) 691-7000.

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