The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5 percent in December on a
seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months,
the all items index increased 1.5 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The energy index increased in December. The gasoline index rose sharply and accounted for about 80
percent of the all items seasonally adjusted increase. The household energy index, which declined in
November, increased as well. The food index increased slightly in December, with the fruits and
vegetables index rising notably.
The index for all items less food and energy also rose in December. An increase in the shelter index
accounted for about 60 percent of the rise, and the indexes for airline fares, medical care and apparel
rose as well. These increases more than offset declines in the indexes for communication, recreation, and
household furnishings and operations.
Year in Review
The rate of increase in the CPI slowed in 2010 as the December to December increase fell from 2.7
percent in 2009 to 1.5 percent in 2010. A deceleration in the gasoline index accounted for much of the
slowdown, as it increased 13.8 percent in 2010 after rising 53.5 percent in 2009. The index for
household energy, which declined in 2009, rose 0.8 percent in 2010 as increases in the indexes for fuel
oil and electricity more than offset a decline in the natural gas index. The energy index as a whole,
which rose 18.2 percent in 2009, increased 7.7 percent in 2010.
The index for all items less food and energy also decelerated in 2010. After rising 1.8 percent in both
2008 and 2009, the index increased 0.8 percent in 2010, the smallest December-December increase in
the history of the index. Several indexes turned down in 2010. These include the new vehicles index,
which fell 0.2 percent in 2010 after rising 4.9 percent in 2009, and the index for apparel, which fell 1.1
percent in 2010 after a 1.9 percent increase in 2009. The indexes for recreation and household
furnishings and operations, which both declined in 2009, posted larger decreases in 2010. The indexes
for tobacco and for used cars and trucks rose in 2010, but at a slower rate than the previous year. The
shelter and medical care indexes posted increases in 2010 similar to their 2009 figures. One of the few
indexes to accelerate was the airline fares index, which rose 5.8 percent in 2010 after rising 4.3 percent
The food index turned up in 2010, rising 1.5 percent after declining 0.5 percent in 2009. The index for
food away from home rose 1.3 percent; the food at home index increased 1.7 percent after declining 2.4
percent in 2009. Among major grocery store food groups, the index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs
posted the largest increase at 5.5 percent followed by a 3.7 percent increase in the dairy index. The
indexes for nonalcoholic beverages and cereals and bakery products were the only ones to decline.