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

Following is the text of the July consumer prices from the Labor Department. Consumer Price Index - July 2011

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5 percent in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The gasoline index rebounded from previous declines and rose sharply in July, accounting for about half of the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index. The food at home index accelerated in July and also contributed to the increase, as dairy and fruit indexes posted notable increases and five of the six major grocery store food groups rose.

The index for all items less food and energy increased as well, though the 0.2 percent increase was slightly smaller than the two previous months. The shelter index accelerated in July, and the apparel index again increased sharply. In contrast, the index for new vehicles was unchanged after a long string of increases. The index for household furnishings and operations was flat in July as well, and the recreation index declined slightly.

The 12 month change in the all items index remained at 3.6 percent for the third month in a row. The change in the index for all items less food and energy continued its upward trend, rising to 1.8 percent in July, with the shelter and apparel indexes contributing notably to the acceleration. The energy index has risen 19.0 percent over the past year.

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.

Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July ended

2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 July 2011

All items..................4 .5 .5 .4 .2 -.2 .5 3.6 Food.......................5 .6 .8 .4 .4 .2 .4 4.2 Food at home............ ..7 .8 1.1 .5 .5 .2 .6 5.4 Food away from home (1).. .2 .2 .3 .3 .2 .3 .2 2.6 Energy.................. 2.1 3.4 3.5 2.2 -1.0 -4.4 2.8 19.0 Energy commodities...... 4.0 4.8 5.5 3.1 -1.9 -6.3 4.3 33.3 Gasoline (all types).... 3.5 4.7 5.6 3.3 -2.0 -6.8 4.7 33.6 Fuel oil (1)............ 6.8 5.8 6.2 3.2 -.8 -2.2 -1.7 37.2 Energy services......... -.6 1.1 .2 .6 .6 -1.1 .4 .9 Electricity............. -.5 .4 .7 .2 .8 -1.6 .8 2.0 Utility (piped) gas service............. . -1.2 3.4 -1.4 1.9 -.3 .4 -1.2 -2.8 All items less food and energy............... .2 .2 .1 .2 .3 .3 .2 1.8 Commodities less food and energy commodities.... .2 .2 .1 .4 .5 .5 .3 1.8 New vehicles........... -.1 1.0 .7 .7 1.1 .6 .0 4.0 Used cars and trucks... -.3 .1 .8 1.2 1.1 1.6 .7 5.3 Apparel................ 1.0 -.9 -.5 .2 1.2 1.4 1.2 3.1 Medical care commodities (1).................. .5 .7 .5 .5 .0 -.1 .0 3.2 Services less energy services.............. .1 .2 .2 .1 .2 .1 .2 1.7 Shelter................. .1 .1 .1 .1 .2 .2 .3 1.4 Transportation services .6 .5 .5 .2 .1 -.3 -.1 2.9 Medical care services... -.1 .4 .1 .3 .3 .3 .3 3.2

1 Not seasonally adjusted.

Consumer Price Index Data for July 2011

Food

The food index rose 0.4 percent in July after rising 0.2 percent in June. The cereals and bakery products index fell 0.1 percent in July; the other five major grocery store food groups all increased. The dairy and related products index, which rose 0.5 percent in June, increased 1.2 percent in July. The fruits and vegetables index also rose 1.2 percent as the index for fresh fruits rose 3.7 percent. The index for nonalcoholic beverages increased 0.9 percent in July as the coffee index continued to rise sharply, while the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 0.5 percent and the index for other food at home advanced 0.3 percent. The index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in July after rising 0.3 percent in June. Over the past 12 months, the food index has risen 4.2 percent with the food at home index up 5.4 percent. All major grocery store food group indexes have risen over the past year; the increases ranged from 3.5 percent (other food at home) to 7.9 percent (dairy and related products).

Energy

The energy index, which declined in May and June, increased 2.8 percent in July. The gasoline index, down 6.8 percent in June, rose 4.7 percent in July. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices fell 1.5 percent in July.) Over the past 12 months, the gasoline index has increased 33.6 percent. The household energy index also turned up in July, rising 0.2 percent after a 1.2 percent decline in June. The electricity index, which declined in June, rose 0.8 percent and more than offset a 1.7 percent decline in the index for fuel oil and a 1.2 percent decrease in the natural gas index. The household energy index has risen 2.7 percent over the last 12 months, with the fuel oil index up 37.2 percent and the electricity index up 2.0 percent but the index for natural gas down 2.8 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in July after increasing 0.3 percent in both May and June. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent in July, its largest increase since June 2008. The indexes for rent and owners' equivalent rent both rose 0.3 percent, while the lodging away from home index increased 0.9 percent. The index for medical care rose 0.2 percent, with the medical care services index rising 0.3 percent while the index for medical care commodities was unchanged. The apparel index continued to rise sharply, increasing 1.2 percent in July; it has increased 3.9 percent over the past three months. The index for used cars and trucks also continued to rise, increasing 0.7 percent in July, and the airline fare index turned up, rising 0.1 percent after falling in May and June. The tobacco index rose as well; its 0.5 percent July increase was its largest of the year. However, the index for new vehicles was unchanged in July after rising at least 0.6 percent in each of the last five months. The indexes for personal care and household furnishings and operations were also unchanged in July, while the index for recreation fell 0.1 percent.

The 12 month change in the index for all items less food and energy reached 1.8 percent in July, continuing its steady rise from the October 2010 low point of 0.6 percent. Most of its major component indexes have risen more quickly in 2011 than they did in late 2010. The 12 month change in the shelter index, which was negative as recently as October 2010, reached 1.4 percent in July. The apparel index has now increased 3.1 percent over the last 12 months, its largest 12 month increase since July 1992.

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 3.6 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 225.922 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.1 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 4.1 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 222.686 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.1 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 3.5 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.1 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 August 2011 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, September 15, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

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.

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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