Tuesday, April 12, 2022
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria increased 1.9 percent for the 2 months ending in March 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted the change was the largest since 2008 and was largely due to a rise in the all items less food and energy index, up 1.5 percent, led by a 4.5 percent jump in medical care and a 1.0 percent increase in shelter. The energy index was up 13.0 percent while the food index inched up 0.2 percent. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect seasonal influences.)
Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U was up 7.3 percent, the largest over-the-year increase since January 1982. The rise was due mostly to a 6.0-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index, the largest since July of 1990. (See chart 1 and table A.) The energy index increased 27.8 percent over the year due mainly to gasoline prices advancing 45.6 percent over the year. Food prices jumped 7.2 percent, representing the highest 12-month rise since the series started in January 1999. (See table 1.)Food
The food index advanced 0.2 percent over the last 2 months, the smallest increase of the last year. Prices for food at home increased 1.5 percent while those for food away from home decreased 1.5 percent – the first drop in a year. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for dairy and related products at 5.8 percent. Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials advanced 4.8 percent and meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 1.9 percent. The other food at home index (-0.4 percent) was the only major component to decline since January.
The 7.2 percent over-the-year food price increase reflected higher prices for both food at home (8.4 percent) and food away from home (5.6 percent). The food at home rise was the largest increase since August 2011; higher prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, up 10.0 percent, and fruits and vegetables, up 8.6 percent, led the general rise in grocery prices.Energy
Since January, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 13.0 percent, the highest increase since July 2008. The increase reflects sharply higher gasoline prices, up 23.3 percent, the largest 1-month change since 2007. The gasoline index was responsible for nearly a third of the overall CPI-U increase. Electricity prices, up 2.0 percent; utility (piped) gas service, up 4.3 percent; and an 18.3 percent increase in fuel oil also contributed to the energy rise.
Energy prices rose 27.8 percent since March 2021. This was the 14th consecutive over-the-year increase although it was below the peak of 30.8 percent in November. Higher gasoline prices, up 45.6 percent, accounted for most of the 12-month increase in the energy index but were below November’s peak of 52.3 percent. Over the year, electricity prices were up 7.3 percent, the same as in February. Utility (piped) gas service prices advanced 14.6 percent, breaking the trend of 8 months of price increases exceeding 20.0 percent. Fuel oil prices jumped 62.2 percent.All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.5 percent since January. The advance was led by higher prices for medical care (4.5 percent), the highest increase since May 2020. Shelter contributed to the increase as well, up 1.0 percent, dominated by higher prices for lodging away from home, up 21.6 percent. New and used motor vehicles increased 3.7 percent due to new vehicle prices increasing 1.0 percent although prices for used cars and trucks were down 0.8 percent. While prices were generally higher, the education and communication index and other goods and services index each declined, down 0.1 and 1.6 percent, respectively.
Since March 2021, the index for all items less food and energy rose 6.0 percent over the year, the largest increase since July 1990. New and used motor vehicles prices hit a series high (25.9 percent), due mostly to a series of large increases for used cars and trucks which pushed that index up 37.0 percent. Shelter prices increased 2.8 percent, due mostly to owners’ equivalent rent of residences advancing 2.4 percent.
The May 2022 Consumer Price Index for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area is scheduled to be released on June 10, 2022.
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; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.
|Expenditure category||Indexes||Percent change from|
Food and beverages
Food at home
Cereals and bakery products
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Dairy and related products
Fruits and vegetables
Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)
Other food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence
Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)
Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles(3)
Used cars and trucks(1)
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)
Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)
Motor vehicle insurance(1)
Education and communication(3)
Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)
Other goods and services
Commodity and service group
Commodities less food and beverages
Nondurables less food and beverages
Special aggregate indexes
All items less shelter
All items less medical care
Commodities less food
Nondurables less food
Services less rent of shelter(2)
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy
Last Modified Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2022