Economic News Release

Consumer Price Index Summary

 Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                                       
 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, March 24, 2015        USDL-15-0477

 Technical information: (202) 691-7000
 Media Contact:         (202) 691-5902 


 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent
 in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
 reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index was unchanged
 before seasonal adjustment.

 The seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was broad-based, with
 increases in shelter, energy, and food indexes all contributing. The energy
 index rose after a long series of declines, increasing 1.0 percent as the
 gasoline index turned up after falling in recent months. The food index,
 unchanged last month, also rose in February, though major grocery store food
 group indexes were mixed.

 The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in February, the
 same increase as in January. In addition to shelter, the indexes for used cars
 and trucks, apparel, new vehicles, tobacco, and airline fares were among those
 that increased. The medical care index was unchanged, while the personal care
 index declined.
 The all items index was unchanged over the past 12 months, after showing a 
 0.1-percent decline for the 12 months ending January. Over the last 12 months
 the food index rose 3.0 percent and the index for all items less food and energy
 increased 1.7 percent. These increases were offset by an 18.8-percent decline in
 the energy index. 

 Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
                                  Seasonally adjusted changes from             
                                          preceding month                      
                              Aug.  Sep.  Oct.  Nov.  Dec.  Jan.  Feb.   ended 
                              2014  2014  2014  2014  2014  2015  2015   Feb.  
 All items..................   -.1    .1    .1   -.3   -.3   -.7    .2       .0
  Food......................    .3    .3    .2    .2    .2    .0    .2      3.0
   Food at home.............    .3    .3    .2    .1    .2   -.2    .1      2.9
   Food away from home (1)..    .2    .3    .2    .4    .3    .2    .3      3.1
  Energy....................  -1.7   -.7  -1.2  -4.1  -4.7  -9.7   1.0    -18.8
   Energy commodities.......  -2.6   -.9  -2.1  -7.0  -9.0 -18.0   2.1    -32.5
    Gasoline (all types)....  -2.7   -.9  -2.0  -7.2  -9.2 -18.7   2.4    -32.8
    Fuel oil (1)............  -1.2  -2.1  -4.0  -3.5  -7.8  -9.9   1.9    -31.2
   Energy services..........   -.3   -.4   -.1   -.3    .8   -.1   -.2       .9
    Electricity.............    .2   -.7    .5    .0    .6    .9    .3      3.2
    Utility (piped) gas                                                        
       service..............  -1.9    .4  -1.9  -1.3   1.4  -3.4  -2.0     -6.5
  All items less food and                                                      
     energy.................    .1    .1    .2    .1    .1    .2    .2      1.7
   Commodities less food and                                                   
      energy commodities....   -.1    .1    .0   -.3   -.2   -.1    .2      -.5
    New vehicles............    .1    .0    .1    .0    .0   -.1    .2       .6
    Used cars and trucks....    .0    .0   -.6   -.9   -.8   -.1   1.0     -2.9
    Apparel.................   -.4    .1   -.3   -.7   -.8    .3    .3      -.8
    Medical care commodities    .0    .5    .2    .6    .9   -.3    .7      3.9
   Services less energy                                                        
      services..............    .1    .2    .2    .2    .2    .3    .1      2.5
    Shelter.................    .2    .3    .2    .2    .2    .3    .2      3.0
    Transportation services    -.3    .1    .5    .2    .0    .4    .3      2.2
    Medical care services...    .1    .1    .2    .3    .3    .1   -.2      1.8

   1 Not seasonally adjusted.

 Consumer Price Index Data for February 2015


 The food index increased 0.2 percent in February. The index for food at home,
 which declined in January, rose 0.1 percent in February. Major grocery store
 food group indexes were split, with three increases and three declines. The
 index for nonalcoholic beverages increased 0.6 percent in February, its largest
 increase since September 2012. The index for other food at home, which declined
 in January, rose 0.5 percent in February. Also turning up in February was the
 index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which rose 0.3 percent after 
 declining slightly the prior month. The index for beef and veal rose 0.7 
 percent, its thirteenth consecutive increase. In contrast to these increases,
 the index for dairy and related products continued to fall, declining 1.0 
 percent after a 0.9-percent decrease the previous month. The index for fruits
 and vegetables declined 0.3 percent; the fresh fruits index rose 0.6 percent
 but the index for fresh vegetables declined 2.0 percent. The index for cereals
 and bakery products, whi ch rose in January, declined 0.2 percent in February.
 The index for food at home has risen 2.9 percent over the past year, with all
 six of the major grocery store food group indexes increasing over the span.
 The index for food away from home increased 0.3 percent in February and has 
 risen 3.1 percent over the last 12 months.


 The energy index rose 1.0 percent in February, ending a series of seven 
 consecutive declines. The gasoline index turned up after a series of sharp
 declines, rising 2.4 percent. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose
 5.3 percent in February.) The fuel oil index also increased after recent
 declines, rising 1.9 percent. The electricity index rose 0.3 percent in
 February after a 0.9-percent increase in January. The only major energy
 component index to fall in February was natural gas, which declined 2.0 percent
 following a 3.4-percent decrease the prior month. Despite the February 
 increases, the gasoline and fuel oil indexes have declined sharply over the
 past year, falling 32.8 percent and 31.2 percent, respectively. The index for
 natural gas has also declined over the past year, falling 6.5 percent, but the
 electricity index has increased 3.2 percent. 

 All items less food and energy

 The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in February.
 The shelter index increased 0.2 percent and accounted for about two-thirds of
 the monthly increase in the all items less food and energy index. The index for
 rent increased 0.3 percent, while the index for owners' equivalent rent rose
 0.2 percent. The index for lodging away from home declined 0.5 percent after
 rising in January. The index for used cars and trucks turned up in February,
 rising 1.0 percent after declining in each of the four previous months. The 
 apparel index rose 0.3 percent in February, the same increase as in January.
 The index for new vehicles advanced 0.2 percent, as did the index for airline
 fares, while the tobacco index rose 0.5 percent. The index for medical care was
 unchanged in February. The index for medical care commodities rose 0.7 percent,
 as the index for prescription drugs increased 0.6 percent. However, the index
 for medical care services declined 0.2 percent, its first decline since 
 November 1975. The indexes for physicians' services and hospital services both   
 decreased. The index for personal care, which rose in January, fell 0.4 percent
 in February. 

 The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.7 percent over the 
 past 12 months. The 12-month change has remained in a range of 1.6 percent to
 2.3 percent since June 2011. Indexes that have risen over the past 12 months
 include shelter, medical care, and new vehicles. Among the indexes that have
 declined are those for airline fares, used cars and trucks, and apparel.  

 Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was virtually
 unchanged over the last 12 months; the February 2015 index level was 234.722
 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.4 percent prior to seasonal

 The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
 decreased 0.6 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 229.421
 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.5 percent prior to seasonal

 The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) decreased
 0.5 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index rose 0.5 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 March 2015 is scheduled to be released on Friday,
 April 17, 2015, 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 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
 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 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 0.04 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 0.08 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 0.12 and 0.28 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 2013."  These data are available on the CPI home page
 (, or by using the following link:   

 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

 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-13ARIMA-SEATS Seasonal Adjustment Method.  Seasonally
 adjusted indexes and seasonal factors are computed annually. Each year, the
 last five years of seasonally adjusted data are revised. Data from January
 2010 through December 2014 were replaced in January 2015. 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 

 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 64 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 five years, but the 
 seasonally adjusted indexes before that period will not be changed.
 Note: 32 of the 82 components are not seasonally adjusted for 2014.

 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. In 2014, for the 2009-2013 revisions, the Bureau of Labor
 Statistics began using X-13ARIMA-SEATS to perform the seasonal adjustment of 
 CPI series, including Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment for certain 

 For the seasonal factors introduced in January 2015, BLS adjusted 33 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 the response in crude oil markets to the worldwide economic downturn
 in 2008.  

 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  

 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 Chris Graci at (202) 691-5826, or by e-mail
 at or contact Carlyle Jackson at (202) 691-6984, 
 or by e-mail at If you have general questions about
 the CPI, please call our information staff at (202) 691-7000.  


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Last Modified Date: March 24, 2015
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