For the past 12 months, the Consumer Price Index in the U.S. has actually dropped by 0.2 percent, according to the figures released by the Labor Department this morning. CPI actually notched upward by 0.1 percent in April, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the largest year-over-year decline since October 2009.
Core CPI, which includes the more volatile food and energy costs, is moving upward, although not in any great dramatic fashion. That measure increased by 0.3 percent in April and is up 1.8 percent over the past 12 months.
Gas prices dropped by 1.7 percent in April, while food prices were unchanged. The aspect of consumer spending that increased the most was the medical care index, which rose by 0.7 percent, its largest monthly increase since January 2007. Prices of household furnishings and used cars also rose; prices of airline fares and apparel dropped.