News Release Information

16-761-SAN
Thursday, April 14, 2016

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270

Consumer Price Index, West Region — March 2016

Area prices were up 0.2 percent over the past month, up 1.5 percent from a year ago

Prices in the West Region, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), inched up 0.2 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) The March 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 rose 1.5 percent. (See chart 1.) Energy prices dropped 13.1 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.8 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices declined 0.4 percent for the month of March. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home decreased 0.9 percent, but prices for food away from home inched up 0.2 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices increased 1.4 percent. Prices for food away from home advanced 3.3 percent since a year ago, yet prices for food at home were unchanged.

Energy

The energy index increased 2.4 percent over the month. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (6.1 percent). Prices for electricity advanced 0.6 percent, but prices for natural gas service decreased 5.8 percent for the same period.

Energy prices dropped 13.1 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-22.9 percent). Prices for natural gas service decreased 8.9 percent, but prices paid for electricity rose 1.8 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.2 percent in March. Higher prices for used cars and trucks (1.4 percent), apparel (0.9 percent), and shelter (0.4 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for recreation (-0.5 percent) and medical care (-0.4 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.8 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (4.7 percent) and medical care (3.1 percent).

Table A. West Region CPI-U monthly and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual

January

0.5 1.4 0.4 2.6 0.3 1.7 0.3 1.7 -0.3 0.7 0.5 2.6

February

0.6 1.9 0.4 2.5 0.8 2.0 0.4 1.3 0.6 0.9 0.1 2.1

March

0.9 2.6 0.9 2.4 0.4 1.5 0.6 1.5 0.8 1.1 0.2 1.5

April

0.6 3.0 0.2 2.1 0.0 1.3 0.3 1.8 0.3 1.0    

May

0.3 3.2 0.2 2.0 0.2 1.3 0.6 2.3 0.8 1.2    

June

-0.2 3.1 -0.2 2.0 0.1 1.5 0.1 2.3 0.0 1.1    

July

-0.1 2.9 -0.3 1.8 0.0 1.9 0.1 2.3 0.3 1.3    

August

0.2 3.0 0.5 2.1 0.1 1.5 -0.1 2.1 -0.1 1.3    

September

0.4 3.5 0.5 2.2 0.2 1.3 0.1 2.0 -0.2 1.0    

October

0.0 3.4 0.4 2.5 -0.1 0.9 -0.1 2.0 0.0 1.1    

November

-0.2 3.2 -0.7 1.9 -0.4 1.3 -0.6 1.7 -0.2 1.5    

December

-0.3 2.7 -0.5 1.7 0.0 1.8 -0.5 1.3 -0.1 1.8    

The April 2016 Consumer Price Index for the West Region is scheduled to be released on May 17, 2016.


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 6,000 housing units and approximately 24,000 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 West Region covered in this release is comprised of the following thirteen states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

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

West (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group

 
Indexes
 
Percent change from-
Jan.
2016
Feb.
2016
Mar.
2016
Mar.
2015
Jan.
2016
Feb.
2016

Expenditure category

 
 

All Items

244.600 244.821 245.404 1.5 0.3 0.2

All items (December 1977=100)

395.382 395.739 396.681      

Food and beverages

252.297 252.898 251.809 1.4 -0.2 -0.4

Food

252.408 252.966 251.882 1.4 -0.2 -0.4

Food at home

249.584 250.045 247.901 0.0 -0.7 -0.9

Food away from home

255.149 255.841 256.275 3.3 0.4 0.2

Alcoholic beverages

247.478 248.670 247.520 1.7 0.0 -0.5

Housing

259.985 261.126 261.671 3.9 0.6 0.2

Shelter

295.183 296.707 297.777 4.7 0.9 0.4

Rent of primary residence (1)

310.112 311.351 312.443 4.9 0.8 0.4

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

309.485 310.751 311.834 4.7 0.8 0.3

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

309.472 310.742 311.831 4.7 0.8 0.4

Fuels and utilities

277.144 278.267 276.515 0.8 -0.2 -0.6

Household energy

238.794 239.532 237.235 -0.8 -0.7 -1.0

Energy services (1)

240.609 241.383 239.236 -0.8 -0.6 -0.9

Electricity (1)

265.864 266.632 268.322 1.8 0.9 0.6

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

195.589 196.429 184.968 -8.9 -5.4 -5.8

Household furnishings and operations

130.436 130.220 129.960 0.5 -0.4 -0.2

Apparel

116.407 119.697 120.739 -0.3 3.7 0.9

Transportation

194.907 190.635 193.690 -5.0 -0.6 1.6

Private transportation

188.555 184.063 187.324 -5.4 -0.7 1.8

New and used motor vehicles (3)

99.730 100.691 101.601 0.0 1.9 0.9

New vehicles

146.138 147.376 148.043 0.3 1.3 0.5

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

101.496 102.354 102.815 0.2 1.3 0.5

New cars (4)

144.848 146.173 146.169 -0.7 0.9 0.0

Used cars and trucks

137.043 138.133 140.089 -1.4 2.2 1.4

Motor fuel

198.078 173.893 184.310 -23.0 -7.0 6.0

Gasoline (all types)

197.513 173.287 183.791 -22.9 -6.9 6.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

194.666 170.322 180.770 -23.5 -7.1 6.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

190.843 168.365 179.465 -21.1 -6.0 6.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

196.123 174.285 183.889 -20.5 -6.2 5.5

Medical Care

460.641 466.390 464.715 3.1 0.9 -0.4

Medical care commodities

347.688 351.417 351.389 1.7 1.1 0.0

Medical care services

496.693 503.121 500.851 3.5 0.8 -0.5

Professional services

342.595 345.538 345.751 2.7 0.9 0.1

Recreation (3)

111.498 111.764 111.247 1.3 -0.2 -0.5

Education and communication (3)

138.896 138.429 138.530 0.3 -0.3 0.1

Other goods and services

406.263 405.812 406.765 1.3 0.1 0.2
 

Commodity and Service Group

 
 

All Items

244.600 244.821 245.404 1.5 0.3 0.2

Commodities

177.738 176.682 177.373 -2.0 -0.2 0.4

Commodities less food & beverages

140.849 139.193 140.548 -4.4 -0.2 1.0

Nondurables less food & beverages

175.510 171.339 173.836 -6.9 -1.0 1.5

Nondurables less food, beverages, and apparel

217.336 208.314 211.798 -9.1 -2.5 1.7

Durables

108.737 109.165 109.556 -0.7 0.8 0.4

Services

306.318 307.770 308.242 3.6 0.6 0.2

Rent of shelter (2)

314.055 315.685 316.831 4.7 0.9 0.4

Transportation services

285.013 286.440 287.083 2.7 0.7 0.2

Other services

339.939 339.607 339.874 1.7 0.0 0.1
 

Special aggregate indexes:

 
 

All items less medical care

234.724 234.701 235.382 1.4 0.3 0.3

All items less food

243.561 243.730 244.570 1.6 0.4 0.3

All items less shelter

225.244 224.910 225.290 -0.2 0.0 0.2

Commodities less food

144.822 143.228 144.528 -4.1 -0.2 0.9

Nondurables

213.626 211.634 212.485 -2.4 -0.5 0.4

Nondurables less food

180.714 176.818 179.126 -6.2 -0.9 1.3

Nondurables less food and apparel

219.885 211.786 214.852 -8.0 -2.3 1.4

Services less rent of shelter (2)

331.083 332.466 332.098 2.3 0.3 -0.1

Services less medical care services

293.083 294.210 294.857 3.6 0.6 0.2

Energy

218.529 205.191 210.052 -13.1 -3.9 2.4

All items less energy

248.555 249.793 250.060 2.6 0.6 0.1

All items less food and energy

248.661 250.019 250.516 2.8 0.7 0.2

Commodities less food and energy commodities

139.460 140.513 140.772 -0.3 0.9 0.2

Energy commodities

202.420 178.266 188.493 -22.5 -6.9 5.7

Services less energy services

311.280 312.779 313.415 3.8 0.7 0.2

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 December 1982=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
 

Regions defined as the four Census regions. West includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date. Data not seasonally adjusted.
 

 

Last Modified Date: Thursday, April 14, 2016