CPI Rises 0.6% in March as Gasoline Index Continues to Rise

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent
in March on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.4 percent in February,
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The March 1-month increase
was the largest rise since a 0.6-percent increase in August 2012. Over the last
12 months, the all items index increased 2.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The gasoline index continued to increase, rising 9.1 percent in March and
accounting for nearly half of the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items
index. The natural gas index also rose, contributing to a 5.0-percent increase
in the energy index over the month. The food index rose 0.1 percent in March,
with the food at home index and the food away from home index both also rising
0.1 percent. 

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in March. The
shelter index increased in March as did the motor vehicle insurance index, the
recreation index, and the household furnishings and operations index. Indexes
which decreased over the month include apparel and education. 

The all items index rose 2.6 percent for the 12 months ending March, a much
larger increase than the 1.7-percent reported for the period ending in February.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.6 percent over the last
12 months, after increasing 1.3 percent over the 12 month period ending in
February. The food index rose 3.5 percent over the last 12 months, while the
energy index increased 13.2 percent over that period.
Food

 The food index increased 0.1 percent in March. The index for food at home also
 rose 0.1 percent over the month as two of the six major grocery store food group
 indexes increased. The index for fruits and vegetables rose 1.0 percent in March,
 following a 0.7-percent increase in February. The index for meats, poultry, fish,
 and eggs rose 0.1 percent in March, a smaller increase than the 0.3-percent
 increase in February. The index for other food at home was unchanged over the
 month.
 
 The index for dairy and related products declined 0.5 percent in March, the third
 consecutive monthly decrease in that index. The index for nonalcoholic beverages
 decreased 0.2 percent over the month, while the index for cereals and bakery
 products declined 0.1 percent.

The food away from home index rose 0.1 percent in March, continuing a long series
of increases. The index for limited service meals rose 0.5 percent, while the index
for full service meals increased 0.2 percent.

The food at home index increased 3.3 percent over the past 12 months. All six major
grocery store food group indexes increased over the period, with increases ranging
from 1.6 percent (dairy and related products) to 5.4 percent (meats, poultry, fish,
and eggs). The index for food away from home rose 3.7 percent over the last year.
The index for limited service meals rose 6.5 percent, the largest 12-month increase
in the history of the index, which began in 1997. The index for full service meals
rose 3.2 percent over the last 12 months. 

Energy

The energy index continued to rise in March, increasing 5.0 percent. The index for
gasoline was again the dominant factor in the increase, rising 9.1 percent over the
month. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 11.7 percent in March.)
The natural gas index increased 2.5 percent over the month, and the electricity
index was unchanged in March.

The energy index rose 13.2 percent over the past 12 months. The gasoline index rose
22.5 percent over the last 12 months, while the index for natural gas increased
9.8 percent, and the index for electricity rose 2.5 percent over the same period.
The fuel oil index increased 20.2 percent over the last 12 months.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in March. The shelter
index also rose 0.3 percent in March, with the index for owners’ equivalent rent
and the index for rent both increasing 0.2 percent. The motor vehicle insurance
index increased for the third consecutive month, rising 3.3 percent in March. The
index for recreation increased 0.4 percent over the month, as did the index for
household furnishings and operations. The used cars and trucks index also increased
in March, rising 0.5 percent, and the index for personal care increased 0.6 percent
in March.

The medical care index rose 0.1 percent in March, after rising 0.3 percent in
February. The hospital services index increased 0.6 percent over the month, while
the physicians’ services index rose 0.3 percent in March. The index for
prescription drugs was unchanged over the month.

The index for apparel fell 0.3 percent in March, following a 0.7-percent decline
the previous month. The education index also declined over the month, falling
0.2 percent. The index for communication and the index for new vehicles were both
unchanged in March.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.6 percent over the past
12 months. Among the indexes rising more quickly were those for shelter
(+1.7 percent), used cars and trucks (+9.4 percent), and medical care
(+1.8 percent). Indexes that declined over the last 12 months include lodging away
from home (-6.4 percent), airline fares (-15.1 percent), and apparel
(-2.5 percent).

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.6 percent over
the last 12 months to an index level of 264.877 (1982-84=100). For the month, the
index increased 0.7 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.  

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
increased 3.0 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 258.935
(1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.8 percent prior to seasonal
adjustment.  

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased
2.5 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased
0.7 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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