Thursday, October 13, 2022
Prices in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), declined 0.2 percent for the 2 months ending in September 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that the September decrease was the first since March 2020 and was largely due to a 20.0 percent decline in gasoline prices in September, the largest since January 2015. Energy prices were down 10.0 percent and the food index experienced its first price decrease since March 2021, down 0.6 percent in September. The all items less food and energy index increased 0.7 percent in the same period. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect seasonal influences.)
Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U index increased 6.5 percent, moderating after consecutive 7.5 percent price increases in May and July. The rise was due mostly to a 5.6-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index, identical to the July increase. (See chart 1 and table A.) The energy index was up 20.5 percent over the year, the smallest price increase since March 2021. Food prices increased 6.2 percent, moderating after the July gain of 8.9 percent, the lowest increase since the year began. (See table 1.)Food
The food index decreased 0.6 percent over the last 2 months, the first price decrease since March 2021. Lower prices for food at home, down 1.3 percent, were responsible for the overall decline; it was also the first food at home index decrease in over a year. Offsetting the moderation were higher prices for food away from home which edged up 0.3 percent. Within the food at home component, most of the decrease was due to the other food at home index, which decreased 2.7 percent in September after a series high increase in July. The decrease was influenced in part by lower prices for snacks. The cereals and bakery products index decreased 4.0 percent (largest decline since March 2020) while nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials prices were down 4.2 percent (largest drop since July 2020). The food at home index declines were offset by increases in the meats, poultry, fish, and eggs index (up 0.8 percent) and higher dairy and related products prices (up 1.0 percent).
Over-the-year, food prices increased 6.2 percent, the smallest increase in 2022; the rise was due to higher prices for food at home and food away from home, up 8.6 and 3.5 percent, respectively. Prices were higher throughout the grocery categories while the food away from home increase was the smallest since March 2020.Energy
In September, the energy index decreased 10.0 percent, the largest price decrease since January 2015. Decreases in the gasoline (-20.0 percent), utility (piped) gas service (-2.1 percent), and fuel oil indexes were partially offset by a higher electricity index, up 3.1 percent.
Energy prices rose 20.5 percent since September 2021, the smallest increase in a consistent trend of double-digit increases since March 2021. Gasoline prices (up 18.0 percent) moderated in September; that was the smallest increase since a decline in January 2021; since then, 12-month increases ranged from 18.0 to 52.3 percent. Over the year, the electricity index was up 15.6 percent, the largest increase since July 2006. The utility (piped) gas service index advanced 34.4 percent, the largest increase in a year. Fuel oil prices were also up.All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.7 percent in September, matching the July increase. Apparel prices increased 6.0 percent in September, continuing the 11-year trend of increases in September. The shelter index increase of 0.4 percent was driven by the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index increasing 0.5 percent. Increases in the shelter and recreation (1.8 percent) indexes were partially offset by lower prices for new and used motor vehicles (-1.5 percent) and other goods and services (-1.1 percent). Within new and used motor vehicles, new vehicle prices increased 0.7 percent, moderating from the 2.0 percent rise in July, but offset by prices for used cars and trucks, down 4.3 percent in the same period.
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 5.6 percent, part of a moderating trend since March. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (3.7 percent), medical care (8.6 percent) and new and used motor vehicles (11.3 percent). Rising shelter prices were driven largely by higher prices for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (up 3.6 percent) along with the rent of primary residence (3.7 percent) and lodging away from home indexes increasing. The household furnishings and operations index increased 9.7 percent over the year. Rising prices for medical care services were primarily responsible for the overall rise in the medical care index.
The November 2022 Consumer Price Index for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area is scheduled to be released on December 13, 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)
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: Thursday, October 13, 2022