Consumer Price Index, Seattle area – October 2013
Area prices were unchanged over the past two months, up 0.6 percent from a year ago
Prices in the greater Seattle Area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), were unchanged for the two months ending October 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that food prices increased while gasoline prices decreased during the same period. (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 0.6 percent. (See chart 1.) Energy prices decreased 7.6 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.2 percent since October 2012.
Food prices increased 1.0 percent from August to October. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home rose 1.7 percent, and prices for food away from home increased 0.3 percent for the same period.
Over the year, food prices rose 1.7 percent. Prices for food at home advanced 0.9 percent since a year ago, and prices for food away from home moved up 2.8 percent.
The energy index declined 5.7 percent for the two months ending in October 2013. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-8.9 percent). Prices for electricity moved down 1.5 percent, but prices for natural gas service edged up 0.1 percent from August to October.
Energy prices decreased 7.6 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-12.9 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service declined 6.0 percent, but prices paid for electricity advanced 3.3 percent during the past year.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent in the latest two month period. Higher prices for household furnishings and operations (2.2 percent) and apparel (1.8 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for other goods and services (-0.9 percent).
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.2 percent. Components contributing to the increase included other goods and services (3.5 percent) and shelter (3.4 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were price declines in apparel (-7.4 percent) and recreation (-3.2 percent).
In October, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 239.363, was unchanged over the past two months. The CPI-W increased 0.6 percent over the year.
The December 2013 Consumer Price Index for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton area is scheduled to be released mid-January 2014, at 10:00 a.m. (PDT).
Impact of Federal Government Shutdown
As a result of the federal government shutdown, all CPI staff were furloughed from October 1, 2013 through October 16, 2013. Data collection, data review and index computation commenced shortly after the end of the shutdown. In order to minimize the impact of the shutdown on the quality and timeliness of the index, resources normally devoted to maintenance and improvement work were redirected into data collection and index production. The sample of prices used to calculate the October index was about 75 percent of the amount usually used in the CPI.
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 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: 1-800-877-8339.
For personal assistance or further information on Consumer Price Indexes, as well as other Bureau products, contact the San Francisco Information Office at (415) 625-2270 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT.
Last Modified Date: November 20, 2013