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14-1575-BOS

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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

Area prices unchanged over two months; up 1.7 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Brockton-Nashua area was unchanged in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that over the two-month period an increase in the all items less food and energy index was offset by lower prices for food at home. (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 1.7 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 3.0 percent. (See chart 1.) Higher prices for electricity, up 7.8 percent, also contributed to the increase.

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

Food

Food prices edged down 0.1 percent since May due to lower grocery prices, also known as food at home. Partially offsetting this rise, restaurant prices, or food away from home, were up 0.5 percent.

From July 2013 to July 2014 the index for food rose 0.4 percent. Both restaurant (0.8 percent) and grocery prices (0.2 percent) were up over the year.

Energy

The energy index edged up 0.1 percent over the two months. The overall increase in energy prices was attributable to an increase in the price of electricity, which was up 1.1 percent in July. Slight decreases in the prices of gasoline and utility (piped) gas moderated this rise.

Energy prices rose 3.0 percent from a year ago, attributable to increases in both electricity (7.8 percent) and to a lesser extent, gasoline prices (1.2 percent). The cost of utility (piped) gas was up slightly since last July.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.1 percent over the two months, mainly attributable to higher prices for recreation and shelter. Prices for other goods and services (0.4 percent) and education and communication (0.2 percent) also contributed to the rise. These increases were largely offset by the 3.6 percent decrease in the cost of apparel.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.8 percent, with higher shelter costs, rising 3.0 percent from July 2013, being the main cause of this increase. This marked the 37th consecutive annual increase in the local shelter index. The indexes for other goods and services (2.7 percent) and education and communication (1.2 percent) also rose.

CPI-W

In July, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 255.503. The CPI-W was down 0.2 percent over two months but rose 1.2 percent over the year.

The September 2014 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Brockton-Nashua is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, October 22, 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
May
2014
Jun.
2014
Jul.
2014
Jul.
2013
May
2014
Jun.
2014

All items

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255.209   255.296 1.7 0.0  

All items (1967 = 100)

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741.772   742.023      
 

Food and beverages

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250.453   250.075 0.4 -0.2  

Food

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250.742   250.544 0.4 -0.1  

Food at home

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242.346 240.253 241.302 0.2 -0.4 0.4

Food away from home

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264.415   265.821 0.8 0.5  

Alcoholic beverages

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250.821   248.587 0.4 -0.9  
 

Housing

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249.767   250.057 2.9 0.1  

Shelter

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292.618 292.518 292.914 3.0 0.1 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

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301.313 301.901 302.414 2.6 0.4 0.2

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

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309.560 310.588 311.023 3.2 0.5 0.1

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

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309.560 310.588 311.023 3.2 0.5 0.1

Fuels and utilities

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248.403   249.286 3.9 0.4  

Household energy

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209.540 210.215 210.010 4.5 0.2 -0.1

Energy services (1)

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194.002 195.449 195.396 5.7 0.7 0.0

Electricity (1)

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206.459 208.675 208.661 7.8 1.1 0.0

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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165.773 165.777 165.653 0.1 -0.1 -0.1

Household furnishings and operations

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127.842   127.790 0.2 0.0  
 

Apparel

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144.945   139.704 -2.0 -3.6  
 

Transportation

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211.821   212.118 1.5 0.1  

Private transportation

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209.823   210.806 1.8 0.5  

Motor fuel

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313.924 313.781 313.759 1.3 -0.1 0.0

Gasoline (all types)

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310.233 310.098 310.086 1.2 0.0 0.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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308.498 308.395 308.348 1.3 0.0 0.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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315.302 315.005 315.197 0.9 0.0 0.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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300.451 300.314 300.288 0.9 -0.1 0.0
 

Medical care

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588.757   589.062 0.3 0.1  
 

Recreation (6)

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113.398   114.703 1.3 1.2  
 

Education and communication (6)

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148.128   148.373 1.2 0.2  
 

Other goods and services

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438.832   440.549 2.7 0.4  
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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197.434   196.533 0.5 -0.5  

Commodities less food and beverages

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169.034   167.882 0.5 -0.7  

Nondurables less food and beverages

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226.286   224.731 0.8 -0.7  

Durables

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113.470   112.710 -0.1 -0.7  

Services

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306.544   307.589 2.4 0.3  
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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243.159   243.164 1.1 0.0  

All items less medical care

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242.158   242.237 1.8 0.0  

Commodities less food

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172.232   171.037 0.5 -0.7  

Nondurables

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237.011   236.058 0.6 -0.4  

Nondurables less food

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226.433   224.835 0.8 -0.7  

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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338.758   340.834 1.8 0.6  

Services less medical care services

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287.349   288.423 2.8 0.4  

Energy

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253.446 253.760 253.636 3.0 0.1 0.0

All items less energy

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259.056   259.134 1.6 0.0  

All items less food and energy

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261.206   261.340 1.8 0.1  

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: August 19, 2014