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March 2002, Vol. 125, No. 3
Consumer inflation lower in 2001: energy and apparel prices declinedTodd Wilson
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for All Items for the U.S. city average increased 1.6 percent in 2001, down from a 3.4-percent rise during the prior year.1 The 2001 deceleration in this index mainly reflects lower prices for energy (household fuels and motor fuel), apparel, and various commodities excluding food. Within the energy component, which represents almost 8 percent of the CPI-U, double-digit decreases in prices were recorded for gasoline, fuel oil, and natural gas. Apparel prices declined for the fourth consecutive year, and at an increasing rate. The declines were widespread among the major clothing categories, including those for men’s and boys’, women’s and girls’, and footwear.
Higher prices for many types of services, such as owners’ equivalent rent, rent of primary residence, and medical care services were partially offset by lower prices for many types of commodities such as gasoline, apparel, and durables, including furniture and bedding and computers. Commodities are generally subject to greater global competition than services, and generally increase in price less than services. Actually, in 2001, the commodities index decreased for the first time since 1986 by 1.4 percent, following a 2.7-percent increase in 2000.
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1 Annual percent changes are calculated from December to December, unless otherwise stated.
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