financeThe U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased in the area of New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island. The decline of 0.4 percent continued a downward trend begun in October; the first instance of a three-consecutive-month CPI-U decline since fourth-quarter 2008. The decrease mostly reflected price drops in energy and some other items. The declines in these area offset price increases of food. Due primarily to rising food and shelter costs, the CPI-U rose 2.7 percent over the year.

The food index in the area rose 0.7 percent in December 2011, coming off of a 0.3 percent decrease the prior month. The index rose on a 1.1 percent rise in the food at home sub index, supplementing a slight 0.1 percent increase in prices within the food away from home sub index. Foods most affected by price jumps included bread, eggs, lettuce, raw beef roasts, and fresh fruits. Over the year, the food index increased by 4.3 percent.

Energy prices dropped 2.6 percent in December, continuing a 0.8 percent fall experienced in November. Continuing a consecutive seven-month period of decline, gasoline decreased by 3.2 percent. Household energy prices fell by 2.2 percent during December due to a 2.3 percent decrease in electricity prices and a 3.7 percent drop in natural gas prices. Over the year, energy rose by 2.4 percent on the back of a 9.9 percent increase in gas prices in the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island region. Household energy, including a 9.7 percent drop in natural gas costs and a 7.1 percent fall in electricity prices, decreased by 3.9 percent over the year.

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