Consumer Price Index & Inflation
December 2014

The average cost of a market basket of goods and services in the United States decreased 0.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI)*. The pre-seasonally adjusted December CPI level fell to 236.1 which is 0.8 percent higher than the previous year.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.4 percent between the November and December indices. There were increases in Medical Care Commodities (+0.6), Food (+0.3), Medical Care Services (+0.2), and Shelter (+0.1) indexes. Indices that decreased between November and December were Energy (-5.4), Apparel (-3.9), Used Cars & Trucks (-1.5), and Transportation Services (-0.6).

Over the year there were large increases in Meats, Poultry, Fish, and Eggs (+9.2), Utility (Piped) Gas Service (+5.8), and Dairy and Related Products (+5.3) indexes for December. Lowest price increases over the year were found in Cereals and Bakery Products (+0.5) and New Vehicles (+0.5) indexes.

December Inflation Graph

*The CPI is based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, fuels, transportation fares, doctors’ and dentists’ services, prescription drugs, and other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day activities. Prices are collected in 87 urban areas across the country (including Kansas City and St. Louis) from about 50,000 housing units and approximately 23,000 stores, hospitals and other types of service establishments.

The actual index is expressed as a number derived by comparing the current cost of goods and services to the cost of the same items between 1982 and 1984. The reference year is assigned a value of 100. Subsequent indices are expressed as a percentage of the base year.   

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