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The Consumer Price Index Virtually Unchanged

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was virtually unchanged in July, before seasonal adjustment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. The July level was 2.4 percent higher than in July 2006.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) decreased 0.1 percent in July prior to seasonal adjustment. The July level of 203.700 was 2.3 percent higher than in July 2006.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) decreased 0.1 percent in July on a not seasonally adjusted basis. The
July level of 120.148 was 2.1 percent higher than in July 2006.

CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI-U advanced 0.1 percent in July, following a 0.2 percent increase in June. The index for energy declined for the second consecutive month, down 1.0 percent in July. The index for petroleum-based energy decreased 1.4 percent. The index for energy services fell 0.5 percent, resulting from a 1.7 percent decline in the index for natural gas. The food index rose 0.3 percent in July, reflecting a 0.5 percent increase in food away from home. The index for food at home rose 0.1 percent in July after registering average monthly increases of 0.6 percent in the first six months of the year. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 0.2 percent in July, the same as in June. A smaller increase in the index for shelter was offset by an advance in the apparel index and larger increases in the indexes for medical care and for new and used vehicles.

During the first seven months of 2007, the CPI-U rose at a 4.5 percent seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). This compares with an increase of 2.5 percent for all of 2006. The index for energy, which rose 2.9 percent in 2006, advanced at a 21.3 percent SAAR in the first seven months of 2007 despite registering declines in each of the last two months. Petroleum-based energy costs increased at a 36.9 percent annual rate and charges for energy services rose at a 3.8 percent annual rate. The food index has increased at a 5.7 percent SAAR thus far this year, following a 2.1 percent rise for all of 2006. Excluding food and energy, the CPI-U advanced at a 2.3 percent SAAR in the first seven months, following a 2.6 percent rise for all of 2006.

Food and Beverages

The food and beverages index rose 0.3 percent in July. The index for food at home, which increased 0.6 percent in June, rose 0.1 percent in July. Another sharp increase in the index for dairy products was nearly offset by declines in the indexes for fruits and vegetables, for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, and for nonalcoholic beverages. The index for dairy products increased 2.7 percent, following a 3.2 percent increase in June. Milk prices rose 6.4 percent and have risen 16.9 percent since the beginning of the year. The index for fruits and vegetables declined for the third consecutive month--down 1.1 percent in July. The indexes for fresh fruits and for fresh vegetables declined 2.3 and 0.5 percent, respectively, while the index for processed fruits and vegetables rose 0.2 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs decreased 0.4 percent. The indexes for pork and for beef declined 0.9 and 0.7 percent,
respectively, while poultry prices rose 0.3 percent. The index for nonalcoholic beverages fell 0.1 percent. The indexes for cereal and
bakery products and for other food at home increased 0.1 and 0.3 percent, respectively. The other two components of the food and beverages index--food away from home and alcoholic beverages--increased 0.5 and 0.1 percent, respectively.

Housing and Transportation

The index for housing increased 0.2 percent in July, following a 0.3
percent rise in June. The index for shelter rose 0.2 percent, following
an increase of 0.4 percent in June. Within shelter, the index for rent
rose 0.3 percent; the index for owners' equivalent rent, 0.2 percent; and the index for lodging away from home, 0.8 percent. The index for household energy decreased 0.2 percent as a 1.7 percent decline in the index for natural gas more than offset an increase of 4.2 percent in the index for fuel oil. The index for electricity was virtually unchanged. The index for household furnishings and operations decreased 0.2 percent in July.

The transportation index declined for the second consecutive month--down 0.3 percent in July-- reflecting another decline in the index for motor fuels. The index for gasoline, which fell 1.1 percent in June,
declined 1.7 percent in July. (Prior to seasonal adjustment, gasoline
prices were 4.9 percent lower than their peak level recorded in May.) The index for new vehicles was virtually unchanged. (Prior to seasonal adjustment, new vehicle prices declined for the sixth consecutive month, down 0.3 percent in July.) The index for used cars and trucks increased
0.7 percent. During the last 12 months, new vehicle prices have declined 1.1 percent and prices for used cars and trucks, 4.3 percent. The index for public transportation decreased 0.1 percent in July. The index for airline fares was virtually unchanged in July. (Prior to seasonal
adjustment, airline fares advanced 1.1 percent.)

Apparel, Medical Care and Recreation

The index for apparel, which had declined in each of the preceding four months, increased 0.4 percent in July. (Prior to seasonal adjustment, apparel prices declined 3.2 percent, reflecting continued seasonal discounting of spring-summer clothing. Prices for women's and girls' apparel registered the largest decline--down 6.1 percent.)

Medical care costs rose 0.6 percent in July. The index for medical care commodities--prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and medical supplies--increased 0.6 percent. The index for medical care services also rose 0.6 percent. The indexes for professional services and for hospital and related services increased 0.4 and 0.9 percent, respectively.

The index for recreation declined 0.1 percent in July. Decreases in the indexes for video and audio and for toys--down 0.5 and 1.4 percent,
respectively--more than offset increases in most other recreation categories.

Education and Communication

The index for education and communication increased 0.2 percent in July. Educational costs rose 0.5 percent while the index for communication was virtually unchanged. Within the former group, the indexes for college textbooks and for college tuition and fees rose 0.7 and 0.5 percent, respectively. Within the communication group, the index for telephone services rose 0.1 percent as a 0.6 percent increase in land-line local charges more than offset a 0.2 percent decline in land-line long distance charges. The indexes for personal computers and peripheral equipment and for internet services and electronic information providers declined 1.0 and 0.2 percent, respectively.

The index for other goods and services was virtually unchanged in July. The index for tobacco and smoking products rose 0.3 percent and has increased 6.2 percent during the last 12 months. The index for miscellaneous personal services fell 0.2 percent, reflecting a 1.6 percent decrease in the index for financial services.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor

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