The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.4 percent in August, before seasonal adjustment, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Seasonally adjusted, the decline was only 0.1%
The decline, to a level of 219.086 (1982-84=100), was driven by a pullback in the energy index, which fell 3.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The gasoline index declined by 4.2% in August but is 35.6% higher than in August 2007. The index for household energy, which was up 3.8% in July, declined 1.6% in August.
The CPI-U on a seasonally adjusted basis was up 5.4% August 2007.
The effects of higher energy prices, however, were still being felt in other areas. The food index advanced 0.6% in August after rising 0.9% in July, with the index for food at home up 0.8% in August after a 1.2% increase in July. It is up 7.5% over the past year. The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2% in August after increasing 0.3% in July.
During the first eight months of 2008, the CPI-U rose at a 5.1% seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR), compared with a 4.1 percent increase for the 12 months ending December 2007. The energy index rose at a 22.4% SAAR in the first eight months of 2008 after increasing 17.4% in 2007. Gasoline prices increased at a 22.1% SAAR in 2008 after a 29.6% increase in 2007, while natural gas prices rose at a 46.3% SAAR after decreasing 0.4% in 2007.