The overall Consumer Price Index fell 0.4% over last year, the first 12-month decline since August 1955, as shown by statistics reported on April 15 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI decreased 0.1 percent in March after rising 0.4% in February.

Food index declines

The food and beverages index declined 0.1% for the second straight month, matching the February decrease of 0.1% to bring the index to virtually the same level as October 2008. The food at home index declined 0.4%, the second straight such decrease, as the index for dairy and related products continued to decline, more than offsetting the 0.1% increases in the indexes for food away from home and alcoholic beverages.

The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs decreased 0.9% for the fifth straight monthly decline, as the index for eggs fell 4.6%. The beef index declined 1.4%.

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The cereals and bakery products index also declined in March, while the other food at home index was virtually unchanged.

The food index has increased 4.4% over the past year, with the food at home index up 4.3%.

Energy decreases 

A large part of the CPI decrease was due to a downturn in the energy index, which declined 3.0% in March after rising 3.3% the previous month. All the energy indexes decreased, particularly the indexes for fuel oil, natural gas, and motor fuel.