U.S. Consumer Prices Increase in December

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent 
 in December on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.2 percent in November, 
 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 seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was driven by an 
 8.4-percent increase in the gasoline index, which accounted for more than 60 
 percent of the overall increase. The other components of the energy index were 
 mixed, resulting in an increase of 4.0 percent for the month. The food index 
 rose in December, as both the food at home and the food away from home indexes 
 increased 0.4 percent.  
 
 The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in December 
 after rising 0.2 percent in the previous month. The indexes for apparel, motor 
 vehicle insurance, new vehicles, personal care, and household furnishings and 
 operations all rose in December. The indexes for used cars and trucks, 
 recreation, and medical care were among those to decline over the month. 
 
 The all items index rose 1.4 percent for the 12 months ending December, a 
 slightly larger increase than the 1.2-percent rise reported for the period 
 ending November. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.6 percent 
 over the last 12 months, as it did in the periods ending October and November. 
 The food index rose 3.9 percent over the last 12 months, while the energy 
 index fell 7.0 percent.
 
 Food
 
 The food index increased 0.4 percent in December following a 0.1-percent decrease 
 in November. The index for food at home increased 0.4 percent after declining in 
 November. Major grocery store food group indexes were mixed over the month. The 
 index for other food at home rose 0.7 percent in December after falling 0.6 percent 
 in November. The nonalcoholic beverages index increased 1.1 percent after a 0.9-
 percent decline in the previous month. The index for dairy and related products 
 rose 0.8 percent in December, and the index for cereals and bakery products 
 increased 0.4 percent over the month.
 
 The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs declined 0.2 percent in December, 
 following a 0.1-percent increase the previous month. The index for fruits and 
 vegetables also declined 0.2 percent over the month. 
 
 The index for food away from home rose 0.4 percent in December, after rising 
 0.1 percent in November. The index for limited service meals rose 0.5 percent, 
 while the index for full service meals increased 0.3 percent.
 
 The food at home index increased 3.9 percent over the past 12 months. All six 
 major grocery store food group indexes increased over the period. The largest 
 increase was the meats, poultry, fish, and eggs index which rose 4.6 percent 
 as the beef index increased 5.3 percent. The smallest increases were for the 
 cereals and bakery products and the fruits and vegetables indexes, which both 
 increased 3.2 percent over the last 12 months. The index for food away from home 
 rose 3.9 percent over the last year. The index for limited service meals rose 
 6.0 percent and the index for full service meals rose 3.0 percent over the span. 
 
 Energy
 
 The energy index rose for the seventh month in a row in December, increasing 
 4.0 percent. The largest contribution to this increase was the gasoline index, 
 which increased 8.4 percent in December after declining in the previous 2 months. 
 (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 3.4 percent in December.) 
 The index for electricity rose 0.4 percent over the month, while the index for 
 natural gas fell 0.8 percent.
 
 Despite the monthly increase, the energy index fell 7.0 percent over the past 
 12 months. Energy commodity indexes fell sharply over the period, with the fuel 
 oil index declining 20.0 percent and the gasoline index decreasing 15.2 percent. 
 Energy service indexes rose over the last 12 months, with the index for natural 
 gas increasing 4.1 percent and the index for electricity rising 2.2 percent.  
 
 All items less food and energy
 
 The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in December after 
 rising 0.2 percent in November. The shelter index rose 0.1 percent in December, 
 the fifth 0.1-percent increase in a row for that index. The indexes for rent 
 and owners’ equivalent rent both increased 0.1 percent in December, after both 
 were unchanged in November. The index for lodging away from home was unchanged 
 in December after rising sharply in November. 
 
 The index for apparel increased 1.4 percent in December, as did the index for 
 motor vehicle insurance. The index for personal care and the index for new 
 vehicles both rose 0.4 percent over the month after falling 0.1 percent the 
 previous month. The index for household furnishings and operations increased 
 0.2 percent in December after rising 0.7 percent in November.
 
 The index for used cars and trucks declined for the third consecutive month, 
 falling 1.2 percent in December. The recreation index fell 0.3 percent in 
 December, ending a string of 4 consecutive monthly increases. The index for 
 medical care continued to decline in December, falling 0.2 percent after 
 decreasing 0.1 percent in November. The index for prescription drugs declined 
 0.4 percent over the month, while the index for hospital services rose 0.3 
 percent in December, and the index for physicians’ services was unchanged.
 
 The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.6 percent over the past 12 
 months. The shelter index rose 1.8 percent over the last 12 months. The used 
 cars and trucks index increased 10.0 percent over the last 12 months and the 
 medical care index increased 1.8 percent. Indexes which declined over the past 
 12 months included the indexes for airline fares, apparel, lodging away from 
 home, and motor vehicle insurance.
 
 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 260.474 (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 1.4 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 254.081 
 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.1 percent prior to seasonal 
 adjustment.  
 
 The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 
 1.2 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 past 10 to 12 months are subject to revision. 
   
 Year in Review (December to December)
 
 The all items CPI-U rose 1.4 percent in 2020. This was smaller than the 2019 
 increase of 2.3 percent and the smallest December-to-December increase since 
 the 0.7-percent rise in 2015. The index rose at a 1.7-percent average annual 
 rate over the last 10 years.
 
 The food index increased 3.9 percent in 2020, a larger increase than the 2019 
 rise of 1.8 percent. The index for food at home also increased 3.9 percent in 
 2020, a larger increase than the 0.7-percent increase reported for 2019. Over 
 the last 10 years, the food index rose at a 2.0-percent average annual rate, 
 and the food at home index increased at a 1.5-percent average annual rate.

 All six major grocery store food group indexes rose in 2020. The index for 
 meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 4.6 percent in 2020 after rising 2.3 
 percent in 2019. Similarly, the dairy and related products index increased 
 4.4 percent in 2020 after increasing 2.4 percent in 2019. The index for 
 nonalcoholic beverages also increased by 4.4 percent in 2020, while the index 
 for other food at home rose 3.9 percent over the year. The cereals and bakery
 products and the fruits and vegetables indexes both increased 3.2 percent in 
 2020.
 
 The index for food away from home rose 3.9 percent in 2020, a somewhat larger 
 increase than the 3.1 percent increase in 2019 and the largest December-to-
 December rise since 2008. The food away from home index increased at a 2.7-
 percent average annual rate over the last 10 years.

 The energy index decreased 7.0 percent in 2020 after increasing 3.4 percent 
 in 2019. The index for gasoline fell 15.2 percent in 2020 after rising 7.9 
 percent the previous year. The index for fuel oil fell 20.0 percent in 2020. 
 These declines more than offset increases in the other energy component indexes. 
 The index for natural gas rose 4.1 percent in 2020 after falling 3.5 percent 
 in 2019, while the index for electricity increased 2.2 percent over the year 
 after declining 0.4 percent in the previous year. The energy index decreased 
 at a 0.9-percent average annual rate since December 2010. 
 
 The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.6 percent in 2020, a 
 smaller increase than the 2.3- percent increase reported for 2019, and smaller 
 than the 2.0-percent average annual rate over the past 10 years. The shelter 
 index rose 1.8 percent, the smallest December-to-December increase since 2010. 
 The index for rent increased 2.3 percent in 2020, while the index for owners’ 
 equivalent rent increased 2.2 percent. The index for household furnishings and 
 operations increased 3.2 percent in 2020 after increasing 1.0 percent in 2019. 
 In contrast, the index for lodging away from home fell 9.5 percent in 2020, 
 the largest December-to-December decrease ever reported for that index, which 
 dates to December 1997.

 The medical care index increased 1.8 percent in 2020, a smaller increase than 
 the 4.6-percent increase reported for 2019. The index for hospital services 
 rose 3.0 percent in 2020, the same increase as in 2019. The physicians’ 
 services index rose 1.7 percent over the year. The index for prescription 
 drugs, in contrast, fell 2.4 percent in 2020 after rising 3.0 percent in 2019. 
 The medical care index increased at a 2.8-percent average annual rate over 
 the last decade.
 
 The index for used cars and trucks increased 10.0 percent in 2020, the largest 
 December-to-December increase reported for that index since 1983. The new 
 vehicles index rose 2.0 percent in 2020 after rising 0.1 percent in 2019. The 
 index for motor vehicle insurance fell 4.8 percent over the year after being 
 unchanged in 2019, the largest December-to-December decrease in that index 
 since 1955.
 
 The communication index increased 2.4 percent in 2020, a larger increase than 
 the 0.7-percent increase reported in 2019. The index for education increased 
 1.4 percent over the year, less than the 2.1-percent increase in the previous 
 year. The personal care index increased 1.8 percent in 2020, while the 
 recreation index increased 0.9 percent. The index for tobacco increased 5.1 
 percent over the year, and the index for alcoholic beverages increased 2.8 
 percent. The index for airline fares declined 18.4 percent in 2020, the largest 
 December-to-December decrease ever reported for that index, which was first 
 published in December 1964. The apparel index continued to decline for the 
 seventh consecutive year, falling 3.9 percent.

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