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News Release Information

21-1864-PHI
Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – September 2021

Area prices up 0.7 percent since July, 4.5 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria increased 0.7 percent from July to September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that the recent increase was well below the 1.3 and 1.2 percent changes in May and July, respectively.  The more moderate change was largely due to a rise in the all items less food and energy index, up 0.6 percent. The food index also increased since July, up 1.9 percent, while the energy index declined 1.8 percent over the 2-month period. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U increased 4.5 percent, the largest year-over-year increase since 2008. The rise was due mostly to a 3.7-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index, the largest 12-month increase since early in 2007. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since September 2020, the energy index and the food index also increased, up 21.7 and 3.7 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 1.5-percent increase from May to July, the food index advanced 1.9 percent over the last 2 months. Prices for food at home increased 2.1 percent, and those for food away from home rose 1.6 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for uncooked beef steaks, among other items, while prices were lower for several categories including breakfast cereal and lettuce.

Food prices advanced 3.7 percent over the year after more moderate 12-month increases in May and July. Prices were higher for both food away from home (5.5 percent) and for food at home (1.9 percent) since September 2020.

Energy

Since July, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 1.8 percent, reflecting lower prices for utility (piped) gas service (-11.1 percent) and electricity (-1.0 percent) over the past 2 months. While prices were higher for gasoline (0.3 percent), that was the smallest 2-month change so far in 2021.  The decline in energy prices was the first so far in 2021.

Energy prices rose 21.7 percent since September 2020. The rise was due almost entirely to higher gasoline prices, up 36.8 percent although that was the most moderate over-the-year increase since March. Over the year, prices also increased for utility (piped) gas service, up 21.0 percent, and for electricity, up 3.8 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent since July. The advance was led by higher prices for shelter (1.0 percent), led the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index (0.9 percent). Prices were also higher for education and communication (2.5 percent) and apparel (4.2 percent). Prices for used cars and trucks, which had 2-month increases between 2.5 and 17 percent over the previous 6 months were down 4.7 percent and public transportation prices also dropped, down 9.0 percent, helping to offset the overall increase since July.

Since September 2020, the index for all items less food and energy rose 3.7 percent. Prices were higher over the year for new and used motor vehicles (17.4 percent), due mostly to earlier large increases for used cars and trucks (25.0 percent). Prices also increased for shelter (1.9 percent) and recreation (7.0 percent) since September 2020.

Table A. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month20172018201920202021
2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month

January

0.21.50.92.20.50.80.51.60.71.5

March

0.41.1-0.11.80.71.6-0.40.40.72.6

May

0.00.30.72.50.61.60.1-0.11.33.8

July

0.00.50.12.5-0.31.20.60.81.24.4

September

0.91.70.42.00.10.90.61.20.74.5

November

0.01.5-0.71.3-0.21.50.01.4

The Consumer Price Index for October 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on September 2021 Consumer Price Index Data

Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in September was affected by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the number of prices considered temporarily unavailable and imputed.

While the CPI program attempted to collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month. Additional information is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.htm


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 93 percent of the total U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. 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 75 urban areas across the country from about 6,000 housing units and approximately 22,000 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; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000.  Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cpi/.

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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MA-WV, Core Based Statistical Area includes the District of Columbia; the counties of Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s in Maryland; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park and the counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren in Virginia; and the county of Jefferson in West Virginia.

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments 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, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure categoryIndexesPercent change from
Historical
data
Jul.
2021
Aug.
2021
Sep.
2021
Sep.
2020
Jul.
2021
Aug.
2021

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0
279.099 280.9334.50.7 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF
269.241 274.0703.61.8 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF1
276.611 281.7343.71.9 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF11
255.928258.481261.3021.92.11.1

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF111
332.785 333.4230.80.2 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF112
287.930 301.4368.94.7 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFJ
243.100 247.965-1.22.0 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF113
266.037 270.6771.31.7 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF114
225.132 224.4080.9-0.3 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF115
210.211 214.085-2.21.8 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFV
302.782 307.6835.51.6 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF116
200.346 202.6672.51.2 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH
289.367 291.4602.70.7 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH1
344.851345.876348.4381.91.00.7

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHA
376.998377.453377.966-0.50.30.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC
353.149354.497356.2401.60.90.5

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC01
353.149354.497356.2401.60.90.5

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH2
262.851 255.1397.9-2.9 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH21
205.462203.570197.2348.6-4.0-3.1

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF
210.935208.817201.8298.5-4.3-3.3

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF01
220.790221.202218.6743.8-1.0-1.1

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF02
177.531171.492157.86321.0-11.1-7.9

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH3
116.723 118.1374.91.2 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAA
150.056 156.3541.64.2 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT
238.844 234.18412.3-2.0 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT1
246.441 244.19915.1-0.9 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA
115.437 113.19217.4-1.9 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA01
208.571 212.76210.52.0 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA02
430.623 410.48925.0-4.7 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB
289.802291.129290.52036.70.2-0.2

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB01
286.796288.071287.52536.80.3-0.2

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47014
280.275281.489280.94737.90.2-0.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47015
293.692295.523294.89432.20.4-0.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47016
304.597306.124305.63229.80.3-0.2

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETE
822.360 827.2872.10.6 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAM
498.539 501.2501.30.5 

Recreation(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAR
118.505 119.3157.00.7 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAE
157.681 161.6323.62.5 

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEEB
1,456.345 1,505.9074.83.4 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAG
454.844 452.9855.8-0.4 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAC
194.259 196.3257.31.1 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL11
156.423 157.15810.50.5 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL11
199.425 202.4199.31.5 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAD
114.111 113.41111.8-0.6 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAS
355.176 356.6172.90.4 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L2
252.093 253.3035.80.5 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L5
268.729 270.5224.80.7 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL1
158.368 159.18310.00.5 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAN
233.402 237.3245.81.7 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL1
199.036 201.9448.51.5 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL2RS
378.685 377.6974.0-0.3 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL5
340.493 341.8823.10.4 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0E
246.669246.143242.17321.7-1.8-1.6

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0LE
285.427 287.7083.70.8 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L1E
288.213 289.9133.70.6 

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a November 1977=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a November 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.

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2021