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14-1153-BOS

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Brockton-Nashua – May 2014

Area prices rose 0.1 percent over two months; up 2.1 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Brockton-Nashua area rose 0.1 percent in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that the two-month increase was mainly due to an increase in the shelter index and to a lesser extent higher prices for gasoline. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bimonthly changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months the Boston CPI-U rose 2.1 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher prices within the all items less food and energy index, and in particular, higher shelter prices, which rose 3.4 percent. (See chart 1.) Higher prices for gasoline and electricity, up 5.0 and 9.2 percent, respectively also contributed to the increase.

Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Boston-Brockton-Nashua, May 2011 - May 2014

Food

Food prices edged up 0.3 percent in May due to higher grocery prices, also known as food at home. Partially offsetting this rise, restaurant prices, or food away from home, were down 0.4 percent.

From May 2013 to May 2014 the index for food rose 0.6 percent. Both grocery and restaurant prices were up 0.5 percent over the year.

Energy

The energy index fell 3.5 percent over the two months. The overall decrease in energy prices was largely attributable to a seasonal decrease in the price of utility (piped) gas, down 27.7 percent in May. To a lesser extent, lower prices for electricity, down 3.2 percent, contributed to the overall decrease.

Energy prices rose 5.2 percent from a year ago, attributable to increases in both gasoline (5.0 percent) and electricity prices (9.2 percent). Partially offsetting this rise was a decline in the cost of utility (piped) gas (-1.4 percent) since last May.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.5 percent in May, mainly attributable to higher prices for shelter. Prices for apparel (1.6 percent) and medical care (0.5 percent) also contributed to the rise.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.0 percent, with higher shelter costs, rising 3.4 percent from May 2013, being the main cause of this increase. This marked the 35th consecutive annual increase in the local shelter index. The indexes for education and communication (1.4 percent) and other goods and services (2.2 percent) also rose.

CPI-W

In May, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 255.943. The CPI-W was unchanged over two months and rose 1.7 percent over the year.

The July 2014 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Brockton-Nashua is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, August 19, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

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 88 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 29 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 Boston-Brockton-Nashua, Mass.-N.H.-Maine-Conn. consolidated area covered in this release is comprised of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk Counties and parts of Bristol, Hampden, and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts; parts of Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire; part of York County in Maine; and part of Windham County in Connecticut.

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.

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Boston-Brockton-Nashua, Ma.-N.H.-Maine-Conn., (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Mar.
2014
Apr.
2014
May
2014
May
2013
Mar.
2014
Apr.
2014

All items

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254.982   255.209 2.1 0.1  

All items (1967 = 100)

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741.113   741.772      
 

Food and beverages

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249.735   250.453 0.6 0.3  

Food

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249.974   250.742 0.6 0.3  

Food at home

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240.600 241.286 242.346 0.5 0.7 0.4

Food away from home

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265.504   264.415 0.5 -0.4  

Alcoholic beverages

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250.613   250.821 1.1 0.1  
 

Housing

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251.380   249.767 3.2 -0.6  

Shelter

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290.590 292.073 292.618 3.4 0.7 0.2

Rent of primary residence (1)

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300.492 300.983 301.313 2.7 0.3 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1) (2) (3)

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308.485 309.017 309.560 3.1 0.3 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2) (3)

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308.485 309.017 309.560 3.1 0.3 0.2

Fuels and utilities

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274.301   248.403 4.3 -9.4  

Household energy

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234.808 234.607 209.540 4.9 -10.8 -10.7

Energy services (1)

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221.184 222.769 194.002 6.0 -12.3 -12.9

Electricity (1)

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213.342 215.735 206.459 9.2 -3.2 -4.3

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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229.230 229.293 165.773 -1.4 -27.7 -27.7

Household furnishings and operations

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128.259   127.842 0.0 -0.3  
 

Apparel

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142.599   144.945 0.4 1.6  
 

Transportation

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208.154   211.821 2.6 1.8  

Private transportation

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207.742   209.823 2.8 1.0  

Motor fuel

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302.615 305.150 313.924 5.0 3.7 2.9

Gasoline (all types)

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298.979 301.516 310.233 5.0 3.8 2.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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297.124 299.538 308.498 5.5 3.8 3.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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303.823 307.114 315.302 3.8 3.8 2.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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290.600 292.929 300.451 3.3 3.4 2.6
 

Medical care

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585.702   588.757 0.0 0.5  
 

Recreation (6)

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113.996   113.398 1.0 -0.5  
 

Education and communication (6)

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148.421   148.128 1.4 -0.2  
 

Other goods and services

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436.987   438.832 2.2 0.4  
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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196.321   197.434 1.3 0.6  

Commodities less food and beverages

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167.736   169.034 1.7 0.8  

Nondurables less food and beverages

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223.804   226.286 2.2 1.1  

Durables

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113.284   113.470 0.9 0.2  

Services

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307.183   306.544 2.6 -0.2  
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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243.645   243.159 1.5 -0.2  

All items less medical care

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242.022   242.158 2.2 0.1  

Commodities less food

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170.982   172.232 1.7 0.7  

Nondurables

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235.433   237.011 1.3 0.7  

Nondurables less food

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224.159   226.433 2.1 1.0  

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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342.803   338.758 1.6 -1.2  

Services less medical care services

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288.089   287.349 2.9 -0.3  

Energy

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262.622 263.612 253.446 5.2 -3.5 -3.9

All items less energy

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257.930   259.056 1.8 0.4  

All items less food and energy

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260.005   261.206 2.0 0.5  

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) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences, and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

Last Modified Date: June 17, 2014