cpi pricesThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), which reports on changes in prices paid by urban consumers for goods and services, remained stagnant for the month of December 2011. While the all items index rose by 3 percent over the previous 12 month period, declines in both the energy and gasoline indexes offset gains in other indexes. The index for all items less food and energy goods rose by 0.1 percent over the month, along with increases in the shelter, recreation, medical care, and tobacco indexes. The used vehicles, new vehicles, and apparel indexes all decreased over the same period.

The energy index fell 6.6 percent between December 2010 and December 2011 while the food index ticked up 0.1 percent, from 4.6 percent to 4.7 percent over the same period. Additionally, the gasoline index was up 9.9 percent over the year, the electricity index was up 2.2 percent, and food rose by 4.7 percent since December 2010.

The 3 percent rise in the CPI-U over the year was the largest increased since 2007. Gasoline and energy indexes experienced a slowdown in growth over 2010. The food index experienced accelerated growth over the year, spiking from the 1.5 percent increase in 2010 over 2009 to 4.7 percent. The growth in the food at home index speed from 1.7 percent in 2010 to 6 percent in 2011. The six major food group indexes increased at rates ranging from 2.3 percent (fruits and vegetables) to 8.1 percent (dairy). The index for all items less food and energy increased to 2.2 percent, accelerating from the historic low 0.8 percent in 2010.

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