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15-506-SAN
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Seattle area – February 2015

Area prices were up 0.2 percent over the past two months, up 1.1 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Seattle Area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased 0.2 percent for the two months ending in February 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that the February increase was influenced by higher prices for electricity, shelter,and apparel. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U advanced 1.1 percent.  (See chart 1 and table A.) Energy prices fell 19.1 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.7 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Seattle, February 2012-February 2015

Food

Food prices inched down 0.1 percent for the two months ending in February. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home declined 0.3 percent, while prices for food away from home were unchanged for the same period.

Over the year, food prices advanced 2.7 percent. Prices for food at home increased 3.2 percent since a year ago, and prices for food away from home rose 2.0 percent.

Energy

The energy index decreased 6.5 percent for the two months ending in February. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-18.3 percent). Prices for electricity jumped 15.4 percent, and prices for natural gas service inched up 0.1 percent for the same period.

Energy prices fell 19.1 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-30.1 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service advanced 1.7 percent, but prices for electricity inched down 0.1 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy advanced 0.8 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for apparel (4.8 percent) and shelter (0.5 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for other goods and services (-0.6 percent) and household furnishings and operations (-0.2 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.7 percent. Components contributing to the increase included household furnishings and operations (5.6 percent) and shelter (4.7 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were lower prices for other goods and services (-0.6 percent).

Table A. Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton CPI-U bi-monthly and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual

February

0.2 0.6 1.2 1.5 0.4 2.7 0.8 1.8 0.7 1.2 0.2 1.1

April

0.2 0.3 0.8 2.1 0.9 2.9 0.4 1.2 1.6 2.4    

June

-0.2 -0.5 0.8 3.2 0.7 2.7 0.8 1.4 0.4 2.0    

August

0.7 0.2 0.2 2.7 0.3 2.7 0.0 1.1 -0.2 1.8    

October

-0.2 0.4 0.9 3.8 0.5 2.3 0.0 0.6 0.3 2.1    

December

-0.2 0.6 -0.5 3.5 -1.4 1.4 -0.7 1.3 -1.1 1.7    

The April 2015 Consumer Price Index for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton is scheduled to be released on May 22, 2015.


Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes CPIs for two population groups: (1) a CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) which covers approximately 89 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 28 percent of the total population. The CPI-U includes, in addition to wage earners and clerical workers, groups such as professional, managerial, and technical workers, the self-employed, short-term workers, the unemployed, and retirees and others not in the labor force.

The CPI is based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, and fuels, transportation fares, charges for doctors' and dentists' services, drugs, and the other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living. Each month, prices are collected in 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 retail establishments--department stores, supermarkets, hospitals, filling stations, and other types of stores and service establishments. All taxes directly associated with the purchase and use of items are included in the index.

The index measures price changes from a designated reference date (1982-84) that equals 100.0. An increase of 16.5 percent, for example, is shown as 116.5. This change can also be expressed in dollars as follows: the price of a base period "market basket" of goods and services in the CPI has risen from $10 in 1982-84 to $11.65. For further details see the CPI home page on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the BLS Handbook of Methods, Chapter 17, The Consumer Price Index, available on the Internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch17_a.htm.

In calculating the index, price changes for the various items in each location are averaged together with weights that represent their importance in the spending of the appropriate population group. Local data are then combined to obtain a U.S. city average. Because the sample size of a local area is smaller, the local area index is subject to substantially more sampling and other measurement error than the national index. In addition, local indexes are not adjusted for seasonal influences. As a result, local area indexes show greater volatility than the national index, although their long-term trends are quite similar. NOTE: Area indexes do not measure differences in the level of prices between cities; they only measure the average change in prices for each area since the base period.

The Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, WA. metropolitan area covered in this release is comprised of Island, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston Counties in the State of Washington.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods

Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, WA (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group

 
Indexes
 
Percent change from-
Dec.
2014
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015
Feb.
2014
Dec.
2014
Jan.
2015

Expenditure category

 
 

All items

245.050 - 245.496 1.1 0.2 -

All items (1967=100)

747.006 - 748.368 - - -

Food and beverages

256.888 - 256.357 2.4 -0.2 -

Food

260.002 - 259.637 2.7 -0.1 -

Food at home

250.476 252.331 249.803 3.2 -0.3 -1.0

Food away from home

275.267 - 275.368 2.0 0.0 -

Alcoholic beverages

220.470 - 218.335 -0.8 -1.0 -

Housing

265.492 - 268.372 4.3 1.1 -

Shelter

297.672 297.918 299.053 4.7 0.5 0.4

Rent of primary residence (1)

302.513 303.499 305.025 6.1 0.8 0.5

Owners' equiv. rent of residences (1) (2)

312.048 313.082 314.425 4.3 0.8 0.4

Owners' equiv. rent of primary residence (1) (2)

312.048 313.082 314.425 4.3 0.8 0.4

Fuels and utilities

227.770 - 246.330 -0.2 8.1 -

Household energy

201.426 224.028 223.782 -2.2 11.1 -0.1

Energy services (1)

235.581 264.772 264.772 0.2 12.4 0.0

Electricity (1)

239.922 276.911 276.911 -0.1 15.4 0.0

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

185.675 185.940 185.940 1.7 0.1 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

178.728 - 178.295 5.6 -0.2 -

Apparel

120.679 - 126.499 0.6 4.8 -

Transportation

211.835 - 202.264 -9.4 -4.5 -

Private transportation

219.653 - 208.966 -10.1 -4.9 -

Motor fuel

309.086 251.591 252.668 -30.0 -18.3 0.4

Gasoline (all types)

314.530 255.756 257.014 -30.1 -18.3 0.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

344.465 278.906 280.302 -30.5 -18.6 0.5

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

244.783 200.815 201.647 -29.2 -17.6 0.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

278.317 229.329 230.544 -28.7 -17.2 0.5

Medical care

383.781 - 387.310 0.6 0.9 -

Recreation (5)

96.168 - 97.369 3.5 1.2 -

Education and communication (5)

137.582 - 139.574 1.0 1.4 -

Other goods and services

397.107 - 394.816 -0.6 -0.6 -
 

Commodity and service group

 
 

All items

245.050 - 245.496 1.1 0.2 -

Commodities

189.795 - 186.859 -3.2 -1.5 -

Commodities less food & beverages

156.464 - 152.520 -6.9 -2.5 -

Nondurables less food & beverages

184.208 - 176.201 -10.9 -4.3 -

Durables

127.952 - 128.028 -1.0 0.1 -

Services

296.774 - 300.226 3.7 1.2 -
 

Special aggregate indexes

 
 

All items less medical care

238.764 - 239.065 1.2 0.1 -

All items less shelter

225.368 - 225.426 -0.8 0.0 -

Commodities less food

159.202 - 155.324 -6.6 -2.4 -

Nondurables

219.095 - 214.595 -3.8 -2.1 -

Nondurables less food

187.360 - 179.787 -10.0 -4.0 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

303.136 - 309.292 2.4 2.0 -

Services less medical care services

287.833 - 291.276 3.9 1.2 -

Energy

261.401 243.879 244.299 -19.1 -6.5 0.2

All items less energy

246.720 - 248.276 2.7 0.6 -

All items less food and energy

244.719 - 246.594 2.7 0.8 -

Footnotes
(1) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(2) Index is on a November 1982=100 base.
(3) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(4) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(5) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
 

- Data not available
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.
 

 

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2015