February Consumer Price Index increases as Gas Prices Spike
As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 0.2 percent for the month of February 2012. Accounting for over 80 percent of the of the rise, gasoline advanced sharply leading to a 3.2 percent increase in energy index, more than offsetting a decline in natural gas. The food index remained the same over the month. The all-items index, excluding food and energy, ticked up 0.1 percent, continuing an upward trend from January. The indexes for shelter, new vehicles, medical care, and household furnishings and operations rose, while indexes for apparel, recreation, used cars and trucks, and tobacco each declined. The all-items index has risen 2.9 percent between the 12-month period between February 2011 and February 2012.
Within the stagnant food index, the food at home group also went unchanged however within that group, the indexes for fruits and vegetables fell 0.5 percent. The only major grocery groups to in the food group index to rise were cereals and baked goods and other food at home. The index for food away from home rose 0.1 percent in February and a total of 3.1 percent over the prior 12 months. The energy index sub-index of gasoline rose 6 percent for the month, offsetting a 0.6 percent fall for household energy. The electricity index was unchanged for February while the fuel oil index rose by 2.8 percent. The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in February.