CPI for all items rises 0.2% in April
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after falling 0.1 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported May 10. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.5 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The indexes for gasoline and shelter were the largest factors in the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index, although the food index increased as well. The gasoline index increased 3.0 percent, more than offsetting declines in other energy component indexes and led to a 1.4-percent rise in the energy index. The food index rose 0.3 percent, with the food at home index rising 0.3 percent and the index for food away from home increasing 0.2 percent.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in April. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent, with other indexes mixed. The indexes for household furnishings and operations, personal care, tobacco, medical care, and apparel all increased in April, while those for used cars and trucks, new vehicles, recreation, and airline fares all declined.
The all items index rose 2.5 percent for the 12 months ending April; this figure has been mostly trending upward since it was 1.6 percent for the period ending June 2017. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.1 percent for the 12 months ending April. The food index increased 1.4 percent, and the energy index rose 7.9 percent.
Real average hourly earnings are unchanged in April
Real average hourly earnings for all employees were unchanged from March to April, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported May 10. This result stems from a 0.1-percent increase in average hourly earnings being offset by a 0.2-percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).
Real average weekly earnings decreased 0.1 percent over the month due to no change in both real average hourly earnings and the average workweek. Real average hourly earnings increased 0.2 percent, seasonally adjusted, from April 2017 to April 2018. The increase in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in a 0.4-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.
Unemployment rate edges down to 3.9% in April
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 164,000 in April, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported May 4. This follows 6 months at 4.1 percent. The number of unemployed persons, at 6.3 million, also edged down over the month. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women decreased to 3.5 percent in April. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), teenagers (12.9 percent), Whites (3.6 percent), Blacks (6.6 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little or no change over the month.
Job gains occurred in professional and business services (+54,000), manufacturing (+24,000), health care (+24,000), and mining (+8,000). Employment changed little over the month in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.