WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers was virtually unchanged in July, before seasonal adjustment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor said. The July level of 208.3 was 2.4% higher than in July 2006. The index for food and beverages was 203.7 in July, up 0.3% from 203.2 in June.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the C.P.I. increased 0.1% in July, following up a 0.2% advance in June. Within the overall C.P.I., energy costs declined for the second consecutive month, easing 1% in July. Within energy, the index for petroleum-based energy fell 1.4%, while the index for energy services declined 0.5% behind a 1.7% decline in the index for natural gas.
The index for food at home continued its upward climb, rising 0.1% to 201.7.
The gain in food at home primarily was the result of a sharp increase in dairy products, which rose 2.7% in July to 198.5. Within dairy, milk prices rose 6.4%, which followed a 3.5% gain in June, bringing the year-to-date increase to 16.9%.
The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was 196.8, down 0.4% from June. The decline marked the first time in five months the category has sustained a drop. The indexes for pork and for beef declined 0.9% and 0.7%, respectively, while poultry prices rose 0.3%.
The C.P.I. for fruits and vegetables declined for the third consecutive month, falling 1.1% in July to 257.8. The indexes for fresh fruits and for fresh vegetables declined 2.3% and 0.5%, respectively, while the index for processed fruits and vegetables increased 0.2%, the B.L.S. said.
The index for cereal and bakery products rose 0.1% to 222.2, while other food at home rose 0.3% to 174.4.
The index for nonalcoholic beverages fell 0.1%.
The other two components of the food and beverage index — food away from home and alcoholic beverages — increased 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively, in July, the B.L.S. said.