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16-116-SAN
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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Consumer Price Index, West Region — December 2015

Area prices were down 0.1 percent over the past month, up 1.8 percent from a year ago

Prices in the West Region, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), edged down 0.1 percent in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) The December decrease was influenced by lower prices for gasoline 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 rose 1.8 percent. (See chart 1.) This marks the 14th consecutive month in which consumer prices rose by less than 2.0 percent on an annual basis in the West. Energy prices declined 6.8 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy increased 2.7 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, West Region, December 2012 - December 2015

Food

Food prices decreased 0.3 percent for the month of December. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home decreased 0.6 percent, while prices for food away from home edged up 0.2 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices increased 1.0 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 3.1 percent since a year ago, but prices for food at home declined 0.4 percent.

Energy

The energy index decreased 1.6 percent over the month. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-3.0 percent). Prices for electricity decreased 0.5 percent, while prices for natural gas service advanced 1.3 percent for the same period.

Energy prices declined 6.8 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-11.1 percent). Prices for natural gas service decreased 7.0 percent during the past year, but prices paid for electricity increased 0.7 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in December. Higher prices for household furnishings and operations (0.6 percent) and shelter (0.4 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for apparel (-2.6 percent) and recreation (-0.5 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.7 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (4.4 percent) and medical care (2.9 percent). Partly offsetting the increases was a price decline in apparel (-0.7 percent).

Table A. West Region CPI-U monthly and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual

January

0.3 1.9 0.5 1.4 0.4 2.6 0.3 1.7 0.3 1.7 -0.3 0.7

February

0.1 1.4 0.6 1.9 0.4 2.5 0.8 2.0 0.4 1.3 0.6 0.9

March

0.3 1.6 0.9 2.6 0.9 2.4 0.4 1.5 0.6 1.5 0.8 1.1

April

0.2 1.5 0.6 3.0 0.2 2.1 0.0 1.3 0.3 1.8 0.3 1.0

May

0.1 1.3 0.3 3.2 0.2 2.0 0.2 1.3 0.6 2.3 0.8 1.2

June

-0.1 0.6 -0.2 3.1 -0.2 2.0 0.1 1.5 0.1 2.3 0.0 1.1

July

0.1 0.8 -0.1 2.9 -0.3 1.8 0.0 1.9 0.1 2.3 0.3 1.3

August

0.1 0.7 0.2 3.0 0.5 2.1 0.1 1.5 -0.1 2.1 -0.1 1.3

September

-0.1 0.5 0.4 3.5 0.5 2.2 0.2 1.3 0.1 2.0 -0.2 1.0

October

0.1 0.6 0.0 3.4 0.4 2.5 -0.1 0.9 -0.1 2.0 0.0 1.1

November

0.0 0.9 -0.2 3.2 -0.7 1.9 -0.4 1.3 -0.6 1.7 -0.2 1.5

December

0.2 1.3 -0.3 2.7 -0.5 1.7 0.0 1.8 -0.5 1.3 -0.1 1.8

The January 2016 Consumer Price Index for the West Region is scheduled to be released on February 19, 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-
Oct.
2015
Nov.
2015
Dec.
2015
Dec.
2014
Oct.
2015
Nov.
2015

Expenditure category

 
 

All Items

244.341 243.749 243.434 1.8 -0.4 -0.1

All items (December 1977=100)

394.963 394.007 393.498      

Food and beverages

252.442 251.757 251.102 1.0 -0.5 -0.3

Food

252.711 251.951 251.300 1.0 -0.6 -0.3

Food at home

251.638 249.920 248.480 -0.4 -1.3 -0.6

Food away from home

252.981 253.577 254.041 3.1 0.4 0.2

Alcoholic beverages

245.569 245.827 245.138 0.6 -0.2 -0.3

Housing

257.502 257.121 258.106 3.6 0.2 0.4

Shelter

291.392 292.216 293.423 4.4 0.7 0.4

Rent of primary residence (1)

305.692 307.166 308.893 4.8 1.0 0.6

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

305.840 306.998 308.301 4.5 0.8 0.4

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

305.821 306.978 308.284 4.5 0.8 0.4

Fuels and utilities

281.656 273.243 273.085 0.3 -3.0 -0.1

Household energy

245.478 234.637 234.451 -1.5 -4.5 -0.1

Energy services (1)

247.731 236.244 236.140 -1.3 -4.7 0.0

Electricity (1)

272.223 261.784 260.589 0.7 -4.3 -0.5

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

204.989 190.266 192.761 -7.0 -6.0 1.3

Household furnishings and operations

129.160 128.345 129.113 0.8 0.0 0.6

Apparel

121.277 118.848 115.729 -0.7 -4.6 -2.6

Transportation

198.551 197.083 195.062 -1.9 -1.8 -1.0

Private transportation

192.229 190.213 188.654 -2.1 -1.9 -0.8

New and used motor vehicles (3)

100.417 100.159 99.778 0.4 -0.6 -0.4

New vehicles

145.919 146.557 146.074 0.7 0.1 -0.3

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

101.336 101.779 101.454 0.6 0.1 -0.3

New cars (4)

145.050 145.296 144.765 -0.3 -0.2 -0.4

Used cars and trucks

140.675 138.050 137.111 -0.4 -2.5 -0.7

Motor fuel

214.565 205.325 199.182 -11.5 -7.2 -3.0

Gasoline (all types)

213.808 204.427 198.342 -11.1 -7.2 -3.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

211.165 201.794 195.732 -11.6 -7.3 -3.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

205.851 197.104 190.802 -10.0 -7.3 -3.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

210.479 201.449 196.112 -9.0 -6.8 -2.6

Medical Care

456.524 458.708 459.224 2.9 0.6 0.1

Medical care commodities

343.522 346.064 345.408 1.4 0.5 -0.2

Medical care services

492.647 494.643 495.621 3.3 0.6 0.2

Professional services

338.351 341.335 341.980 2.8 1.1 0.2

Recreation (3)

111.405 111.266 110.725 1.5 -0.6 -0.5

Education and communication (3)

138.708 138.879 138.660 0.4 0.0 -0.2

Other goods and services

405.842 405.941 406.063 1.7 0.1 0.0
 

Commodity and Service Group

 
 

All Items

244.341 243.749 243.434 1.8 -0.4 -0.1

Commodities

179.745 178.287 177.122 -0.8 -1.5 -0.7

Commodities less food & beverages

143.546 141.820 140.486 -2.1 -2.1 -0.9

Nondurables less food & beverages

180.618 177.597 175.142 -3.4 -3.0 -1.4

Nondurables less food, beverages, and apparel

222.666 219.207 217.157 -4.3 -2.5 -0.9

Durables

109.252 108.704 108.388 -0.2 -0.8 -0.3

Services

303.877 304.128 304.636 3.3 0.2 0.2

Rent of shelter (2)

310.015 310.884 312.178 4.4 0.7 0.4

Transportation services

283.241 286.091 284.624 2.1 0.5 -0.5

Other services

338.900 339.305 338.421 1.7 -0.1 -0.3
 

Special aggregate indexes:

 
 

All items less medical care

234.618 233.918 233.571 1.7 -0.4 -0.1

All items less food

243.213 242.648 242.386 1.9 -0.3 -0.1

All items less shelter

226.489 225.289 224.322 0.4 -1.0 -0.4

Commodities less food

147.405 145.727 144.404 -2.0 -2.0 -0.9

Nondurables

216.464 214.504 212.867 -1.0 -1.7 -0.8

Nondurables less food

185.433 182.593 180.233 -3.1 -2.8 -1.3

Nondurables less food and apparel

224.525 221.429 219.512 -3.8 -2.2 -0.9

Services less rent of shelter (2)

330.462 329.931 329.466 2.0 -0.3 -0.1

Services less medical care services

290.741 290.890 291.366 3.4 0.2 0.2

Energy

230.777 220.716 217.214 -6.8 -5.9 -1.6

All items less energy

247.346 247.467 247.391 2.4 0.0 0.0

All items less food and energy

247.185 247.460 247.485 2.7 0.1 0.0

Commodities less food and energy commodities

140.428 139.613 138.860 -0.1 -1.1 -0.5

Energy commodities

218.688 209.693 203.507 -11.4 -6.9 -3.0

Services less energy services

308.219 309.218 309.766 3.6 0.5 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: Wednesday, January 20, 2016