Economic News Release

Consumer Price Index Summary

 Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                                        
 8:30 a.m. (EST) November 17, 2015              USDL-15-2202

 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 October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of
 Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items
 index increased 0.2 percent before seasonal adjustment.

 The indexes for food, energy, and all items less food and energy all
 increased modestly in October. The food index, which increased 0.4 percent
 in September, rose 0.1 percent in October, with four of the six major
 grocery store food group indexes rising. The energy index, which declined
 in August and September, advanced 0.3 percent in October; major energy
 component indexes were mixed. 

 The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in October,
 the same increase as in September. Advances in the indexes for shelter and
 medical care were the largest contributors to the increase, with the
 indexes for personal care, airline fares, recreation, alcoholic beverages,
 and tobacco also rising. In contrast, the indexes for apparel, new vehicles,
 household furnishings and operations, and used cars and trucks all declined
 in October. 

 The all items index rose 0.2 percent over the last 12 months. The 12-month
 change has been between negative 0.2 percent and positive 0.2 percent since
 January. The food index has increased 1.6 percent over the past year, and
 the index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.9 percent. These
 advances have been mostly offset by a 17.1 percent decline in the energy

 Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city
                                  Seasonally adjusted changes from             
                                          preceding month                      
                              Apr.  May   June  July  Aug.  Sep.  Oct.   ended 
                              2015  2015  2015  2015  2015  2015  2015   Oct.  
 All items..................    .1    .4    .3    .1   -.1   -.2    .2       .2
  Food......................    .0    .0    .3    .2    .2    .4    .1      1.6
   Food at home.............   -.2   -.2    .4    .3    .3    .3    .1       .7
   Food away from home (1)..    .2    .2    .2    .0    .2    .5    .2      2.9
  Energy....................  -1.3   4.3   1.7    .1  -2.0  -4.7    .3    -17.1
   Energy commodities.......  -1.9   9.6   3.1    .7  -4.1  -8.6    .4    -27.8
    Gasoline (all types)....  -1.7  10.4   3.4    .9  -4.1  -9.0    .4    -27.8
    Fuel oil (1)............  -8.4    .7  -1.9  -3.4  -8.1  -2.4  -1.1    -32.9
   Energy services..........   -.5  -1.0    .2   -.6    .5   -.4    .2     -2.9
    Electricity.............    .0  -1.2    .2   -.4    .3   -.5    .4      -.5
    Utility (piped) gas                                                        
       service..............  -2.6    .0    .3  -1.4   1.2   -.3   -.7    -11.0
  All items less food and                                                      
     energy.................    .3    .1    .2    .1    .1    .2    .2      1.9
   Commodities less food and                                                   
      energy commodities....    .1   -.1   -.1   -.1   -.1    .0   -.1      -.7
    New vehicles............    .1    .2    .1   -.2    .0   -.1   -.2       .1
    Used cars and trucks....    .6   -.4   -.4   -.6   -.4   -.2   -.3     -1.4
    Apparel.................   -.3   -.5   -.1    .3    .3   -.3   -.8     -1.9
    Medical care commodities    .1    .4    .0    .1    .3   -.2    .2      2.8
   Services less energy                                                        
      services..............    .3    .2    .3    .2    .1    .3    .3      2.8
    Shelter.................    .3    .2    .3    .4    .2    .3    .3      3.2
    Transportation services     .1    .7    .4   -.2   -.3    .1    .2      1.8
    Medical care services...    .9    .2   -.2    .1    .0    .3    .8      3.0

   1 Not seasonally adjusted.

 Consumer Price Index Data for October 2015


 The food index increased 0.1 percent in October, its smallest increase since May.
 The index for food at home rose 0.1 percent in October after a 0.3 percent
 increase in September. Four of the six major grocery store food group indexes rose
 in October. The index for cereals and bakery products advanced 0.8 percent in
 October, its largest increase since August 2011. The fruits and vegetables index
 increased for the fourth month in a row, rising 0.5 percent. The indexes for
 nonalcoholic beverages and for other food at home also rose in October, increasing
 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and
 eggs declined in October, falling 0.5 percent, as the index for eggs fell 4.8
 percent after sharp increases during the summer. The index for dairy and related
 products also declined, falling 0.2 percent. The food at home index has increased
 0.7 percent over the past 12 months. Five of the six major grocery store food group
 indexes rose over the span, with the index for other food at home posting the
 largest increase of 2.0 percent. The dairy index was the only one to decline,
 falling 3.0 percent. The index for food away from home increased 0.2 percent in
 October and has risen 2.9 percent over the last 12 months. 


 The energy index, which declined 4.7 percent in September, rose 0.3 percent in
 October. Major energy component indexes were mixed in October. The gasoline index
 rose 0.4 percent after declining sharply in August and September. (Before seasonal
 adjustment, gasoline prices declined 3.9 percent in October.) The electricity index
 also increased 0.4 percent in October after falling in September. In contrast, the
 fuel oil index continued to decline, falling 1.1 percent, and the index for natural
 gas decreased 0.7 percent. All major energy component indexes continue to show
 declines over the past 12 months. The fuel oil index has declined 32.9 percent and
 the gasoline index has fallen 27.8 percent. The index for natural gas has decreased 
 11.0 percent, and the electricity index has declined more modestly, falling 0.5

 All items less food and energy

 The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in October, the
 same increase as the previous month. The shelter index continued to rise, increasing
 0.3 percent for the second consecutive month. The rent index rose 0.3 percent and the
 index for owners' equivalent rent advanced 0.2 percent. The index for lodging away
 from home increased 0.8 percent, the same increase as in September. The medical care
 index rose 0.7 percent in October, its largest increase since April. The hospital
 services index increased 2.0 percent, the index for prescription drugs rose 0.1
 percent and the physicians' services index was unchanged. The index for personal care
 increased 0.5 percent in October, its largest increase since January. The index for
 airline fares turned up in October, rising 1.5 percent and ending a string of three
 consecutive declines. The index for recreation increased 0.2 percent, the index for
 alcoholic beverages rose 0.6 percent, and the tobacco index advanced 0.4 percent. In
 contrast to these increases, the apparel index declined in October, falling 0.8
 percent, its largest decline since December 2014. The index for new vehicles, which
 fell 0.1 percent in September, fell 0.2 percent in October. The index for used cars
 and trucks declined for the sixth month in a row, falling 0.3 percent. The index for
 household furnishings and operations also declined in October, falling 0.1 percent.
 The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.9 percent over the past 12
 months; this is the same figure as the 12 months ending September. Indexes that have
 increased more rapidly include shelter (3.2 percent) and medical care (3.0 percent).
 Among the indexes that posted smaller increases are recreation (0.6 percent) and new
 vehicles (0.1 percent). Indexes that declined over the past year include airline
 fares (-5.2 percent), apparel (-1.9 percent) and used cars and trucks (-1.4 percent). 

 Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent over
 the last 12 months to an index level of 237.838 (1982-84=100). For the month, the
 index was essentially unchanged prior to seasonal adjustment.  

 The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
 decreased 0.4 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 232.373
 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index declined 0.1 percent prior to seasonal

 The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) decreased 0.2
 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index declined 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 November 2015 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday,
 December 15, at 8:30 a.m. (EST). 

 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 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 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 January, 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 ( and the Timeline of Seasonal Adjustment
 Methodological Changes (
 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.

 Intervention Analysis
 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.
 2015 Series Adjusted Using Intervention Analysis Seasonal Adjustment

 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.

 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 2015, revised seasonal factors and seasonally adjusted
 indexes for 2009-2014 were calculated and published. For directly adjusted series, the seasonal
 factors for 2014 will be applied to data for 2015 to produce the seasonally adjusted 2015 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 82 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. Thirty-two of the 82 components of the U.S. city average all items index are not seasonally
 adjusted for 2015.

 Contact Information
 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 Christopher
 Graci, Justin Yarros, or Samuel An at (202) 691-6968 or by e-mail at, or If you have general questions about the CPI, please call
 our information staff at (202) 691-7000. 

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Last Modified Date: November 17, 2015
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