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15-1011-SAN
Friday, May 22, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Seattle area — April 2015

Area prices were up 0.9 percent over the past two months, up 0.4 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Seattle Area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), rose 0.9 percent for the two months ending in April 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that the April increase was influenced by higher prices for gasoline and shelter. (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 increased 0.4 percent.  (See chart 1 and table A.) Energy prices dropped 18.0 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.0 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

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

Food

Food prices decreased 0.2 percent for the two months ending in April. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home declined 0.8 percent, but prices for food away from home advanced 0.6 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices rose 1.5 percent. Prices for food away from home increased 2.4 percent since a year ago, and prices for food at home moved up 0.9 percent.

Energy

The energy index increased 9.4 percent for the two months ending in April. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (16.6 percent). Prices for electricity advanced 2.8 percent, while prices for natural gas service were unchanged for the same period.

Energy prices dropped 18.0 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-27.7 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service advanced 1.7 percent, and prices for electricity rose 0.5 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.4 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for apparel (4.7 percent) and shelter (0.9 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-2.5 percent), education and communication (-1.2 percent), and recreation (-1.2 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.0 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (4.7 percent) and household furnishings and operations (2.4 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were price declines in apparel (-4.3 percent) and education and communication (-0.2 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 0.9 0.4

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 June 2015 Consumer Price Index for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton is scheduled to be released on July 17, 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: (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-
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015
Apr.
2015
Apr.
2014
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015

Expenditure category

 
 

All items

245.496 - 247.611 0.4 0.9 -

All items (1967=100)

748.368 - 754.815 - - -

Food and beverages

256.357 - 256.016 1.5 -0.1 -

Food

259.637 - 259.151 1.5 -0.2 -

Food at home

249.803 245.861 247.852 0.9 -0.8 0.8

Food away from home

275.368 - 277.102 2.4 0.6 -

Alcoholic beverages

218.335 - 219.413 0.5 0.5 -

Housing

268.372 - 270.093 4.0 0.6 -

Shelter

299.053 300.628 301.863 4.7 0.9 0.4

Rent of primary residence (1)

305.025 305.083 304.919 5.2 0.0 -0.1

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

314.425 315.093 315.696 4.4 0.4 0.2

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

314.425 315.093 315.696 4.4 0.4 0.2

Fuels and utilities

246.330 - 249.357 0.4 1.2 -

Household energy

223.782 223.784 227.816 -1.0 1.8 1.8

Energy services (1)

264.772 264.772 270.770 0.7 2.3 2.3

Electricity (1)

276.911 276.911 284.528 0.5 2.8 2.8

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

185.940 185.940 185.940 1.7 0.0 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

178.295 - 173.901 2.4 -2.5 -

Apparel

126.499 - 132.471 -4.3 4.7 -

Transportation

202.264 - 211.786 -9.2 4.7 -

Private transportation

208.966 - 218.049 -10.1 4.3 -

Motor fuel

252.668 310.618 293.695 -27.7 16.2 -5.4

Gasoline (all types)

257.014 317.013 299.550 -27.7 16.6 -5.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

280.302 347.021 328.022 -28.1 17.0 -5.5

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

201.647 245.988 232.933 -27.1 15.5 -5.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

230.544 282.160 265.464 -26.6 15.1 -5.9

Medical care

387.310 - 385.713 - -0.4 -

Recreation (5)

97.369 - 96.219 0.3 -1.2 -

Education and communication (5)

139.574 - 137.954 -0.2 -1.2 -

Other goods and services

394.816 - 396.734 0.2 0.5 -
 

Commodity and service group

 
 

All items

245.496 - 247.611 0.4 0.9 -

Commodities

186.859 - 188.845 -4.5 1.1 -

Commodities less food & beverages

152.520 - 155.498 -8.4 2.0 -

Nondurables less food & beverages

176.201 - 183.938 -12.0 4.4 -

Durables

128.028 - 126.310 -2.7 -1.3 -

Services

300.226 - 302.479 3.3 0.8 -
 

Special aggregate indexes

 
 

All items less medical care

239.065 - 241.359 0.4 1.0 -

All items less shelter

225.426 - 227.270 -1.8 0.8 -

Commodities less food

155.324 - 158.231 -8.0 1.9 -

Nondurables

214.595 - 218.540 -5.0 1.8 -

Nondurables less food

179.787 - 187.029 -11.0 4.0 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

309.292 - 310.863 1.7 0.5 -

Services less medical care services

291.276 - 293.692 3.6 0.8 -

Energy

244.299 273.756 267.242 -18.0 9.4 -2.4

All items less energy

248.276 - 249.104 1.9 0.3 -

All items less food and energy

246.594 - 247.640 2.0 0.4 -

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: Friday, May 22, 2015