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

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

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI- U) was unchanged in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.4 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The energy index declined for the second month in a row and offset increases in the indexes for food and all items less food and energy. As in October, the gasoline index fell sharply and the index for household energy declined as well. The food index rose slightly in November, though the index for food at home declined as four of the six major grocery store food group indexes fell.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in November following increases of 0.1 percent in each of the prior two months. The indexes for shelter, medical care, apparel, and personal care all rose. These increases more than offset declines in the indexes for new vehicles and used cars and trucks.

The all items index has risen 3.4 percent over the last 12 months. This is a slightly smaller increase than last month's 3.5 percent figure, as the 12-month change in the energy index declined from 14.2 percent to 12.4 percent. The 12-month change in the food index also declined slightly, from 4.7 percent to 4.6 percent. In contrast, the 12-month change in the index for all items less food and energy continued to rise, reaching 2.2 percent in November.

Consumer Price Index Data for November 2011

Food

The food index rose 0.1 percent in November, the same increase as in October. The index for food at home, however, declined for the first time since June 2010, falling 0.1 percent. The fruits and vegetables index, which fell 1.7 percent in October, declined 0.6 percent in November, as both the fresh fruits and fresh vegetables indexes continued to decline. The index for dairy and related products fell 0.3 percent in November while the indexes for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs and for other food at home both decreased 0.1 percent. The only major grocery store food groups to post increases were cereal and bakery products, which rose 0.3 percent, and nonalcoholic beverages, which increased 0.2 percent. Despite the November decrease, the index for food at home has risen 5.9 percent over the past year with all six major grocery store food groups up at least 4.4 percent. The index for food away from home increased 0.3 percent in November after rising 0.2 percent in October and has risen 2.9 percent over the past year.

Energy

The energy index, which fell 2.0 percent in October, declined 1.6 percent in November as gasoline prices continued to fall. The gasoline index decreased 2.4 percent in November following a 3.1 percent decline in October. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices fell 1.1 percent in November.) The household energy index declined in November as well, falling 0.4 percent. A 4.4 percent decline in the index for natural gas more than offset a 2.7 percent increase in the fuel oil index and a 0.4 percent rise in the index for electricity. Energy indexes are still mostly up over the past year despite the November declines. The gasoline index has increased 19.7 percent, while the household energy index has risen 3.1 percent with the fuel oil index up 25.0 percent, the electricity index up 2.7 percent, but the natural gas index down 1.3 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in November, the largest increase since August. As was the case last month, increases in the indexes for shelter, medical care, and apparel accounted for most of the increase. The shelter index rose 0.2 percent, the same increase as in October, as the rent index rose 0.2 percent and the index for owners' equivalent rent increased 0.1 percent. The index for medical care, which rose 0.5 percent in October, rose 0.4 percent in November with the medical care services index repeating its October increase of 0.5 percent. The apparel index increased 0.6 percent in November following a 0.4 percent increase in October and has now risen in seven of the last eight months. The index for personal care rose notably in November, increasing 0.6 percent, while the tobacco and recreation indexes both posted slight increases. In contrast, the new vehicles index fell 0.3 percent and the index for used cars and trucks declined 0.1 percent.

The index for all items less food and energy has increased 2.2 percent over the last 12 months, the largest such increase since 2008. The 12-month change in the shelter index has been steadily increasing and reached 1.8 percent in November. The 12-month change in the medical care index was 3.4 percent, its highest level in over a year, while the apparel index has risen 4.8 percent over the last 12 months, the largest figure since 1991.

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI- U) increased 3.4 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 226.230 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index declined 0.1 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 3.8 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 222.813 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index declined 0.1 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 3.2 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 post-2009 period are subject to revision.

The Consumer Price Index for December 2011 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, January 19, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. (EST). Releases for the remainder of 2012 are scheduled on the following dates: Feb. 17 March 16 April 13 May 15 June 14 July 17 Aug. 15 Sept. 14 Oct. 16 Nov. 15 Dec. 14

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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Middleton in Washington cmiddleton2@bloomberg.net

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

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