Despite Decline in CPI, Food Index Increases in December

By Ali Meyer | January 16, 2015 | 12:05pm EST

(CNSNews.com) -- Despite a decline in the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) in December, the food index increased and the price index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs hit a record high, according to data released today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

A basket of grocery goods. (AP)

According to the BLS, “The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined 0.4 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 0.8 percent before seasonal adjustment.”

“The gasoline index continued to fall sharply, declining 9.4 percent and leading to the decrease in the seasonally adjusted all items index,” said the BLS.

“The fuel oil index also fell sharply, and the energy index posted its largest one-month decline since December 2008, although the indexes for natural gas and for electricity both increased,” said the BLS.

“The food index, in contrast, rose 0.3 percent, its largest increase since September.”

(AP Photo)

“The food index rose 0.3 percent in December after a 0.2 percent increase in November,” stated the BLS. “The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 0.3 percent as the index for beef and veal continued to rise, advancing 0.7 percent.”

In addition to rising 0.3 percent over the month, the index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs also hit a record high in December.

In January 1967, when the BLS started tracking this measure, the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was 38.1. As of last December 2013, it was 239.151. In November 2014 it hit 260.247. And in December 2014 it hit a record high of 261.002, an increase of 9.1 percent in one year.

The price of ground beef, which hit a record high in November of $4.201, declined in December to $4.156.

While the price of beef declined, the price of fresh whole chicken per pound increased 0.5 percent, and grade A eggs hit a record high price.

(AP Photo)

In January 1980, when the BLS started tracking the price of this commodity, Grade A eggs cost $0.879 per pound. By this December 2014, Grade A eggs cost $2.21 per pound. A decade ago, in December 2004, Grade A eggs cost $1.199 a pound. Since then, the price has increased 84.3%.

Each month, the BLS employs data collectors to visit thousands of retail stores all over the United States to obtain information on the prices of thousands of items to measure changes for the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is simply the average change over time in prices paid by consumers for a market basket of goods and services.

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

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