The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers declined 0.4% in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, the largest monthly decline since January 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.5% before seasonal adjustment.
A sharp decline in the gasoline index was a major cause of the monthly decrease in the seasonally adjusted all items index, with decreases in the indexes for airline fares, lodging away from home, and apparel also contributing. The energy index fell 5.8% as the gasoline index decreased 10.5%. The food index rose in March, increasing 0.3% as the food at home index rose 0.5%.
The energy index declined 5.8% in March, its largest monthly decrease since January 2015. The gasoline index fell for the third month in a row, declining 10.5%; before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices fell 7.4%. The other major energy component indexes also declined in March. The index for fuel oil declined sharply, falling 13.7%. The index for natural gas fell 1.4%, and the electricity index decreased 0.2%.
The energy index fell 5.7% over the past 12 months, its largest 12-month decline since the period ending August 2016. The gasoline index decreased 10.2%, while the fuel oil index fell 20.1%. The index for natural gas declined more modestly, falling 2.9%. The electricity index increased slightly over the last 12 months, rising 0.2%.
The all items index increased 1.5% for the 12 months ending March, a notably smaller increase than the 2.3% increase for the period ending February. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.1% over the last 12 months. The food index rose 1.9% over the last 12 months, while the energy index declined 5.7%.