Consumer Price Index: April Headline at 4.9%, Down from March

This article was originally written by Doug Short. From 2016-2022, it was improved upon and updated by Jill Mislinski. Starting in January 2023, AP Charts pages will be maintained by Jennifer Nash at Advisor Perspectives/VettaFi.

The consumer price index (CPI) is a measure of the change in the prices based on a representative market basket of goods and services paid by consumers. The CPI is the most widely used measure of inflation and is closely watched by policymakers, financial markets, businesses, and consumers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the April Consumer Price Index data this morning. The year-over-year headline CPI came in at 4.9%, down from 5.0% the previous month (n.s.a) and lower than the forecast of 5.0%. Year-over-year core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in as expected at 5.5%, down from 5.6% the previous month (n.s.a).

Here is the introduction from the BLS summary, which leads with the seasonally adjusted monthly data:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.4 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.1 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 4.9 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The index for shelter was the largest contributor to the monthly all items increase, followed by increases in the index for used cars and trucks and the index for gasoline. The increase in the gasoline index more than offset declines in other energy component indexes, and the energy index rose 0.6 percent in April. The food index was unchanged in April, as it was in March. The index for food at home fell 0.2 percent over the month while the index for food away from home rose 0.4 percent.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent in April, as it did in March. Indexes which increased in April include shelter, used cars and trucks, motor vehicle insurance, recreation, household furnishings and operations, and personal care. The index for airline fares and the index for new vehicles were among those that decreased over the month.

The all items index increased 4.9 percent for the 12 months ending April; this was the smallest 12-month increase since the period ending April 2021. The all items less food and energy index rose 5.5 percent over the last 12 months. The energy index decreased 5.1 percent for the 12 months ending April, and the food index increased 7.7 percent over the last year.

The 0.4% month-over-month increase (s.a.) for headline and core CPI were consistent with their respective forecasts. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, headline and core CPI both rose 0.5% from last month.