The average cost of a market basket of goods and services in the United States rose 0.5 percent in April from March according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic's Consumer Price Index (CPI). April's index of 179.5 was 1.6 percent higher than the April 2001 index of 176.6. This is the second consecutive monthly increase in the annual inflation rate.
The overall index for energy costs jumped 4.5 percent in April from March, following a 3.8 percent increase in March. Other categories that saw increases were food and beverages (+ 0.1 percent), housing (+ 0.3 percent), transportation (+ 1.7 percent), medical care (+ 0.5 percent), recreation (+ 0.3 percent), and other goods and services (+ 1.5 percent). Only apparel (-0.6 percent) and education and communication (-0.2 percent) decreased.
The CPI is based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, fuels, transportation fares, charges for doctor's and dentist's services, drugs, and other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living. 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 1982-1984. The reference year is given a value equal to 100. Subsequent indices are expressed as a percentage of the base year.