U.S. February Consumer Price Index Report (Text)

Following is the text of the Feb. consumer prices from the Labor Department.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5 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 increased 2.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Though the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was broad-based, the energy index was once again the largest contributor. The gasoline index continued to rise, and the index for household energy turned up in February with all of its components posting increases. Food indexes also continued to rise in February, with sharp increases in the indexes for fresh vegetables and meats contributing to a 0.8 percent increase in the food at home index, the largest since July 2008.

The index for all items less food and energy rose in February as well. Most of its major components posted increases, including the indexes for shelter, new vehicles, medical care, and airline fares. The apparel index was one of the few to decline.

The 12-month changes in major indexes continue to trend upward. The all items index increased 2.1 percent for the 12 months ending February; the figure was 1.1 percent as recently as November. The 12- month increase in the index for all items less food and energy reached 1.1 percent in February after being as low as 0.6 percent in October. The 11.0 percent increase in the energy index is the largest since May 2010, while the 2.3 percent rise in the food index is the largest since May 2009.

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.

Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. ended

2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2011 2011 Feb.

2011

All items.................. .2 .2 .2 .1 .4 .4 .5 2.1 Food...................... .1 .3 .1 .2 .1 .5 .6 2.3

Food at home............. .0 .4 .1 .2 .2 .7 .8 2.8

Food away from home (1).. .3 .3 .1 .1 .1 .2 .2 1.6 Energy.................... 1.6 1.1 2.5 .1 4.0 2.1 3.4 11.0

Energy commodities....... 2.6 2.2 4.4 .7 6.4 4.0 4.8 19.3

Gasoline (all types).... 2.9 2.2 4.5 .7 6.7 3.5 4.7 19.2

Fuel oil (1)............ .9 .8 4.7 4.2 4.9 6.8 5.8 27.1

Energy services.......... .4 -.4 .0 -.8 .6 -.6 1.1 .2

Electricity............. .1 -.1 .2 .6 .3 -.5 .4 2.2

Utility (piped) gas

service.............. 1.4 -1.4 -.6 -5.3 1.7 -1.2 3.4 -5.9 All items less food and

energy................. .1 .0 .0 .1 .1 .2 .2 1.1

Commodities less food and

energy commodities.... .1 -.2 -.2 .0 -.1 .2 .2 .0

New vehicles............ .2 .1 -.1 -.2 -.1 -.1 1.0 .9

Used cars and trucks.... .9 -.4 -.6 .1 -.1 -.3 .1 1.9

Apparel................. .0 -.5 -.2 .1 .1 1.0 -.9 -.4

Medical care commodities

(1).................. .2 .3 .1 .2 .1 .5 .7 2.7

Services less energy

services.............. .0 .1 .1 .2 .1 .1 .2 1.5

Shelter................. .0 .0 .1 .1 .1 .1 .1 .8

Transportation services .0 .3 .3 .4 .2 .6 .5 3.5

Medical care services... .2 .7 .2 .2 .3 -.1 .4 3.0

1 Not seasonally adjusted.

Consumer Price Index Data for February 2011

Food

The food index rose 0.6 percent in February after rising 0.5 percent in January. The food at home index, up 0.7 percent in January, rose 0.8 percent in February. Five of the six major grocery store food groups posted increases. The index for fruits and vegetables increased the most, rising 2.2 percent as the fresh vegetables index increased 6.7 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs advanced 1.2 percent with the index for meats up 1.9 percent. The dairy and related products index increased 0.6 percent, as did the index for other food at home. The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which rose 1.5 percent in January, advanced 0.2 percent in February. The index for cereals and bakery products, which was unchanged in February, was the only major grocery store food group not to rise. Over the past 12 months, the index for food at home has risen 2.8 percent with all six groups increasing. The index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in February and has risen 1.6 percent over the past 12 months.

Energy

The energy index rose 3.4 percent in February and has risen 9.8 percent over the last three months. The gasoline index continued to increase, climbing 4.7 percent in February after a 3.5 percent rise in January. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 2.2 percent in February.) The index for household energy, which fell 0.2 percent in January, rose 1.3 percent in February. The fuel oil index rose 5.8 percent, the index for natural gas advanced 3.4 percent, and the electricity index increased 0.4 percent. The index for gasoline has risen 19.2 percent over the last 12 months; the household energy index has increased 1.4 percent over that span, with the fuel oil and electricity indexes rising but the index for natural gas declining.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in February, the same increase as in January, with most of its major components posting increases. The shelter index rose 0.1 percent in February, with rent and owners' equivalent rent both also rising 0.1 percent. After declining in January, the new vehicles index rose 1.0 percent in February, its largest increase since October 2009. The medical care index rose 0.4 percent in February after a 0.1 percent increase in January. The index for medical care commodities rose 0.7 percent and the medical care services index advanced 0.4 percent. The index for airline fares increased 2.1 percent in February, its fourth consecutive monthly increase of over two percent. The index for recreation rose 0.3 percent, its second straight monthly increase. The indexes for household furnishings and operations and for used cars and trucks both edged up 0.1 percent in February. In contrast to these increases, the apparel index turned down in February, declining 0.9 percent after increasing 1.0 percent in January.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.1 percent over the last 12 months. The shelter index has gone up 0.8 percent over that time period with the rent index up 1.1 percent. The indexes for airline fares, medical care, new vehicles, and used cars and trucks were among the indexes that increased over that span. Indexes that declined include household furnishings and operations, apparel, and recreation.

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.1 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 221.309 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.5 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 2.3 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 217.535 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.5 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 2.0 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.5 percent on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the post-2009 period are subject to revision.

The Consumer Price Index for March 2011 is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 15, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, March 17, 2011 USDL-11-0350

Technical information: (202) 691-7000 Reed.Steve@bls.gov www.bls.gov/cpi Media Contact: (202) 691-5902 PressOffice@bls.gov

Consumer Price Index - February 2011

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5 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 increased 2.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Though the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was broad-based, the energy index was once again the largest contributor. The gasoline index continued to rise, and the index for household energy turned up in February with all of its components posting increases. Food indexes also continued to rise in February, with sharp increases in the indexes for fresh vegetables and meats contributing to a 0.8 percent increase in the food at home index, the largest since July 2008.

The index for all items less food and energy rose in February as well. Most of its major components posted increases, including the indexes for shelter, new vehicles, medical care, and airline fares. The apparel index was one of the few to decline.

The 12-month changes in major indexes continue to trend upward. The all items index increased 2.1 percent for the 12 months ending February; the figure was 1.1 percent as recently as November. The 12- month increase in the index for all items less food and energy reached 1.1 percent in February after being as low as 0.6 percent in October. The 11.0 percent increase in the energy index is the largest since May 2010, while the 2.3 percent rise in the food index is the largest since May 2009.

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. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. ended 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2011 2011 Feb.

2011

All items.................. .2 .2 .2 .1 .4 .4 .5 2.1 Food...................... .1 .3 .1 .2 .1 .5 .6 2.3 Food at home............. .0 .4 .1 .2 .2 .7 .8 2.8 Food away from home (1).. .3 .3 .1 .1 .1 .2 .2 1.6 Energy.................... 1.6 1.1 2.5 .1 4.0 2.1 3.4 11.0 Energy commodities....... 2.6 2.2 4.4 .7 6.4 4.0 4.8 19.3 Gasoline (all types).... 2.9 2.2 4.5 .7 6.7 3.5 4.7 19.2 Fuel oil (1)............ .9 .8 4.7 4.2 4.9 6.8 5.8 27.1 Energy services.......... .4 -.4 .0 -.8 .6 -.6 1.1 .2 Electricity............. .1 -.1 .2 .6 .3 -.5 .4 2.2 Utility (piped) gas service.............. 1.4 -1.4 -.6 -5.3 1.7 -1.2 3.4 -5.9 All items less food and energy................. .1 .0 .0 .1 .1 .2 .2 1.1 Commodities less food and energy commodities.... .1 -.2 -.2 .0 -.1 .2 .2 .0 New vehicles............ .2 .1 -.1 -.2 -.1 -.1 1.0 .9 Used cars and trucks.... .9 -.4 -.6 .1 -.1 -.3 .1 1.9 Apparel................. .0 -.5 -.2 .1 .1 1.0 -.9 -.4 Medical care commodities (1).................. .2 .3 .1 .2 .1 .5 .7 2.7 Services less energy services.............. .0 .1 .1 .2 .1 .1 .2 1.5 Shelter................. .0 .0 .1 .1 .1 .1 .1 .8 Transportation services .0 .3 .3 .4 .2 .6 .5 3.5 Medical care services... .2 .7 .2 .2 .3 -.1 .4 3.0

1 Not seasonally adjusted.

Consumer Price Index Data for February 2011

Food

The food index rose 0.6 percent in February after rising 0.5 percent in January. The food at home index, up 0.7 percent in January, rose 0.8 percent in February. Five of the six major grocery store food groups posted increases. The index for fruits and vegetables increased the most, rising 2.2 percent as the fresh vegetables index increased 6.7 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs advanced 1.2 percent with the index for meats up 1.9 percent. The dairy and related products index increased 0.6 percent, as did the index for other food at home. The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which rose 1.5 percent in January, advanced 0.2 percent in February. The index for cereals and bakery products, which was unchanged in February, was the only major grocery store food group not to rise. Over the past 12 months, the index for food at home has risen 2.8 percent with all six groups increasing. The index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in February and has risen 1.6 percent over the past 12 months.

Energy

The energy index rose 3.4 percent in February and has risen 9.8 percent over the last three months. The gasoline index continued to increase, climbing 4.7 percent in February after a 3.5 percent rise in January. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 2.2 percent in February.) The index for household energy, which fell 0.2 percent in January, rose 1.3 percent in February. The fuel oil index rose 5.8 percent, the index for natural gas advanced 3.4 percent, and the electricity index increased 0.4 percent. The index for gasoline has risen 19.2 percent over the last 12 months; the household energy index has increased 1.4 percent over that span, with the fuel oil and electricity indexes rising but the index for natural gas declining.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in February, the same increase as in January, with most of its major components posting increases. The shelter index rose 0.1 percent in February, with rent and owners' equivalent rent both also rising 0.1 percent. After declining in January, the new vehicles index rose 1.0 percent in February, its largest increase since October 2009. The medical care index rose 0.4 percent in February after a 0.1 percent increase in January. The index for medical care commodities rose 0.7 percent and the medical care services index advanced 0.4 percent. The index for airline fares increased 2.1 percent in February, its fourth consecutive monthly increase of over two percent. The index for recreation rose 0.3 percent, its second straight monthly increase. The indexes for household furnishings and operations and for used cars and trucks both edged up 0.1 percent in February. In contrast to these increases, the apparel index turned down in February, declining 0.9 percent after increasing 1.0 percent in January.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.1 percent over the last 12 months. The shelter index has gone up 0.8 percent over that time period with the rent index up 1.1 percent. The indexes for airline fares, medical care, new vehicles, and used cars and trucks were among the indexes that increased over that span. Indexes that declined include household furnishings and operations, apparel, and recreation.

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.1 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 221.309 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.5 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 2.3 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 217.535 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.5 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 2.0 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.5 percent on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the post-2009 period are subject to revision.

The Consumer Price Index for March 2011 is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 15, 2011, 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 32 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 87 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 2010". 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/cpivar2010.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

201.8 Equals index point change

0.616

Percent Change

Index point difference

0.616 Divided by the previous index

201.8 Equals

0.003 Results multiplied by one hundred 0.003x100 Equals percent change

0.3

Regions Defined

The states in the four regions shown in Tables 3 and 6 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 2006 through December 2010 were replaced in January 2011. 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: 37 of the 82 components are not seasonally adjusted for 2011.

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 2011, BLS adjusted 29 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Tanzi in Washington atanzi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Marco Babic at mbabic@bloomberg.net

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