Consumer Price Index Up Just 0.2% in September

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent 
 in September on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.4 percent in August, 
 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, 
 the all items index increased 1.4 percent before seasonal adjustment.

 The index for used cars and trucks continued to rise sharply and accounted for 
 most of the monthly increase in the seasonally adjusted all items index. The 
 food index was unchanged, with an increase in the food away from home index 
 offsetting a decline in the food at home index. The energy index rose 0.8 
 percent in September as the index for natural gas increased 4.2 percent. 

 The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in September 
 after larger increases in July and August. The index for used cars and trucks 
 rose 6.7 percent in September, its largest monthly increase since February 1969. 
 The indexes for shelter, new vehicles, and recreation also increased in September. 
 The indexes for motor vehicle insurance, airline fares, and apparel were among 
 those to decline over the month.

 The all items index rose 1.4 percent for the 12 months ending September, a 
 slightly larger increase than the 1.3-percent rise for the 12-month period 
 ending August. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent 
 over the last 12 months, the same increase as the period ending August. 
 The food index increased 3.9 percent over the last 12 months, while the energy 
 index declined 7.7 percent.
Food

 The food index was unchanged in September after rising 0.1 percent in August. 
 The index for food at home fell 0.4 percent in September as five of the six major 
 grocery store food group indexes declined. The index for nonalcoholic beverages 
 fell 0.8 percent, its largest monthly decline since December 2010. The index 
 for other food at home declined 0.6 percent in September after rising 0.5 percent 
 in August. The index for dairy and related products declined 0.5 percent in 
 September after rising 1.5 percent in August. 

 The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs fell 0.4 percent in September, its 
 third consecutive monthly decline. The index for fruits and vegetables also 
 declined 0.4 percent in September as the index for fresh fruits fell 1.3 percent. 
 The index for cereals and bakery products was unchanged in September, the only 
 major grocery store food group index not to decline. 
 
 The index for food away from home continued to rise, increasing 0.6 percent in 
 September. The index for limited service meals rose 0.9 percent in September, 
 the largest increase in the history of the index, which dates to 1997. The index 
 for full service meals rose 0.3 percent in September.

 Despite the September decline, the food at home index increased 4.1 percent over 
 the last 12 months. All six major grocery store food group indexes rose over that 
 span, with increases ranging from 2.6 percent (cereals and bakery products) to 
 6.3 percent (meats, poultry, fish, and eggs). The index for food away from home 
 rose 3.8 percent over the last year. The index for limited service meals increased 
 5.5 percent and the index for full service meals rose 2.8 percent over the last 
 12 months.
 
 Energy
 
 The energy index rose 0.8 percent in September, its fourth consecutive monthly 
 increase. However, unlike previous months, the index for natural gas was the 
 largest contributor to the monthly increase, rising 4.2 percent, its largest 
 monthly increase since December 2018. The electricity index also rose in 
 September, increasing 0.9 percent, its largest monthly advance since October 
 2018. The gasoline index increased slightly in September, advancing 0.1 percent. 
 (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 0.7 percent in September.) 

 The energy index fell 7.7 percent over the past 12 months with its component 
 indexes mixed. The gasoline index decreased 15.4 percent and the fuel oil index 
 fell 27.2 percent. In contrast, energy service indexes rose, with the index for 
 natural gas increasing 3.8 percent and the index for electricity advancing 0.7 
 percent. 
 
 All items less food and energy
 
 The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in September. 
 As was the case last month, the index for used cars and trucks was the dominant 
 factor; it rose 6.7 percent in September following a 5.4-percent increase in 
 August. The used cars and trucks index accounted for more than 100 percent of 
 the monthly increase in the index for all items less food and energy.
 
 The shelter index rose 0.1 percent in September, with the indexes for rent and 
 owners’ equivalent rent both increasing 0.1 percent; these were the same increases 
 as in August. The index for new vehicles increased 0.3 percent in September after 
 being unchanged in August. The recreation index rose 0.2 percent in September 
 after rising 0.7 percent in August. The medical care index was unchanged in 
 September with its components mixed; the hospital services index rose 0.6 percent, 
 while the physicians’ services index declined 0.3 percent and the prescription 
 drugs index fell 0.1 percent. 
 
 The index for motor vehicle insurance declined in September, falling 3.5 percent. 
 The index for airline fares fell 2.0 percent in September after rising in each 
 of the previous 3 months. The apparel index also turned down in September, falling 
 0.5 percent after rising the last 3 months. The education index fell 0.3 percent 
 in September, the same decline as in August. The index for household furnishings 
 and operations fell slightly in September, declining 0.1 percent after rising 0.9 
 percent in August. The indexes for communication and for alcoholic beverages also 
 declined in September.  
 
 The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent over the past 12 
 months. The shelter index rose 2.0 percent over the last 12 months; this was its 
 smallest 12-month increase since the period ending February 2012. The medical care 
 index increased 4.2 percent over the last 12 months. The index for used cars and 
 trucks rose 10.3 percent over the last 12 months, its largest 12-month increase 
 since the period ending September 2010. In contrast, the indexes for apparel, 
 airline fares, and motor vehicle insurance all declined over the past 12 months. 
 
 Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
 
 The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.4 percent 
 over the last 12 months to an index level of 260.280 (1982-84=100). For the month, 
 the index rose 0.1 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.  
 
 The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) 
 increased 1.5 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 254.004 
 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.2 percent prior to seasonal 
 adjustment.  
 
 The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 
 1.1 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.2 
 percent on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for 
 the past 10 to 12 months are subject to revision.

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