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Gas prices see largest jump since 2009

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The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index was the largest since June 2009. About 80 percent of the increase was accounted for by the gasoline index, which rose 9.0 percent and was the major factor in the energy index rising sharply in August after declining in each of the four previous months.

The food index increased 0.2 percent in August, with major grocery store food group indexes mixed. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent for the second month in a row. The indexes for shelter, medical care, personal care, new vehicles, and recreation all rose in August. These increases more than offset declines in the indexes for used cars and trucks, apparel, household furnishings and operations, and airline fares.

The 12-month change in the index for all items was 1.7 percent in August, an increase from the July figure of 1.4 percent. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.9 percent for the 12 months ending August, a slight decline from the 2.1 percent figure in July and its smallest increase since July 2011.

Consumer Price Index Data for August 2012

Food

The food index rose 0.2 percent in August after a 0.1 percent increase in July and has risen 2.0 percent over the past 12 months.

The food at home index, which was unchanged in July, increased 0.1 percent in August. The food at home index has been stable in recent months, increasing a total of 0.1 percent since April.

Three of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased in August. The fruits and vegetables index increased 0.5 percent in August after declining in July, with the index for fresh fruits rising 1.9 percent but the fresh vegetables index declining 1.3 percent.

The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.4 percent in August, its third consecutive increase. The index for dairy and related products rose 0.1 percent, ending a streak of six consecutive declines.

In contrast to these increases the index for nonalcoholic beverages fell 0.2 percent in August after a 0.5 percent July decrease, and the index for other food at home fell 0.1 percent. The index for cereals and bakery products was unchanged in August.

The index for food away from home rose 0.3 percent in August and has risen 2.8 percent over the last 12 months.

Energy

The energy index, which had declined in each of the four previous months, rose 5.6 percent in August. This was its largest increase since June 2009.

The gasoline index accounted for most of the increase, rising 9.0 percent. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices increased 7.2 percent in August.) However, the other major energy indexes, which had all declined in July, increased as well.

The fuel oil index increased 4.6 percent, the index for natural gas rose 2.8 percent, and the electricity index advanced 0.2 percent.

Over the last 12 months, the energy index has declined 0.6 percent. The gasoline index has risen 1.8 percent over that span, but the other major indexes have declined, with the index for natural gas down 11.2 percent, the electricity index down 1.2 percent, and the fuel oil index down 0.8 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in August, the same increase as in July. The index for shelter, which rose 0.1 percent in July, rose 0.2 percent in August.

The rent index increased 0.2 percent and the index for owners' equivalent rent rose 0.3 percent, but the index for lodging away from home fell 0.6 percent. The medical care index rose 0.2 percent in August after rising 0.4 percent in July.

The indexes for personal care, new vehicles, and recreation also increased in August. In contrast to these increases, several indexes declined in August. The index for used cars and trucks fell 0.9 percent, the apparel index fell 0.5 percent, and the index for household furnishings and operations fell 0.3 percent.

The index for airline fares fell 1.3 percent in August, its third decline in a row, and the tobacco index also declined.

The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.9 percent over the last 12 months; this figure has been trending down slightly since its recent peak of 2.3 percent in March, April, and May.

Indexes for most major components have increased over the period, though the indexes for used cars and trucks and airline fares show declines.

The medical care index rose 4.1 percent and the shelter index increased 2.1 percent.

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