Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Prices in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased 0.9 percent for the 2 months ending in May 2023, down from March’s 1.3-percent increase, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that the May rise was due in part to an increase in the shelter index. The all items less food and energy index, which includes shelter, contributed the most to the increase as it rose 0.8 percent. Rising prices in the energy index and the food index also contributed to the rise of the overall index. (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 was up 3.1 percent, the smallest rise in 2 years. The all items less food and energy index was mainly responsible as it rose 3.9 percent. Food prices were up 4.4 percent over the year, continuing to moderate from last year’s peak of 8.9 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The energy index reduced the overall increase, declining 10.1 percent since May 2022, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. (See table 1.)Food
The food index rose 0.2 percent over the last 2 months, with prices for food away from home up 0.9 percent and food at home down 0.2 percent. Within the food at home category, prices for fruits and vegetables decreased 3.5 percent, in part to lowering prices for citrus fruits. Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs prices decreased 1.6 percent, largely due to falling prices for eggs. The rest of the grocery categories had similarly declining prices except for other food at home, which rose 4.8 percent, nearing last year’s record peak of 4.9 percent.
From May 2022 to May 2023, food prices increased 4.4 percent. The 7.8-percent increase for food away from home was the highest 12-month increase since the index began in January 1999. Comparatively, the food at home index reported the smallest 12-month increase (+2.2 percent) since September 2021. Leading the rise in the food at home index was other food at home (+7.5 percent), dairy and related products (+6.3 percent), and cereals and bakery products (+4.1 percent). Declining prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (-3.4 percent) and fruits and vegetables (-0.4 percent) tempered the overall index rise.Energy
After mostly declining since September 2022, the energy index rose 3.3 percent over the last 2 months ending in May. Within energy, the gasoline and utility (piped) gas service indexes reversed direction as well, up 4.2 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively, since March. Declining prices for fuel oil and no change in the electricity index moderated the overall energy index rise.
Energy prices declined 10.1 percent over the year as gasoline and utility (piped) gas had double-digit decreases of 22.2 percent and 12.4 percent, respectively. Prices advanced for electricity, up 13.1 percent, moderating from last November’s 19.1-percent peak.All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.8 percent in the latest 2-month period. Higher prices for shelter (1.0 percent) and new and used motor vehicles (2.2 percent) led the overall index rise. Within the shelter index, owners’ equivalent rent of residences increased (up 1.2 percent) as did the remaining categories. In the new and used motor vehicles index, used cars and trucks led the advance, up 7.9 percent. It was the first bi-monthly increase since July 2022 but remained below the index’s peak of 17.0 percent in May 2021. Other rising prices in the all items less food and energy index included education and communication (up 1.0 percent), other goods and services (up 1.6 percent), and recreation (up 0.5 percent). The overall index rise was partly offset by lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-1.3 percent) and apparel (-1.8 percent).
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 3.9 percent. Reversing a clear pattern that began after July 2020, 12-month percent changes for the all items less food and energy index have been higher than the all items index changes since March. The May increase was primarily due to a 5.6-percent rise in the shelter index as a component index, owners’ equivalent rent of residences, was up 5.7 percent. Also within shelter, the index for rent of primary residence advanced 5.8 percent. Other components contributing to the increase included new and used motor vehicles (4.3 percent); new vehicles advanced 4.0 percent but used cars and trucks declined 4.1 percent. Prices in the remaining main components rose over the year except for medical care. At -4.0 percent, the medical care index saw its second drop in a row and recorded the largest over-the-year decline in the history of the series.
The July 2023 Consumer Price Index for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area is scheduled to be released on August 10, 2023.
The Consumer Price Index for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria is published bi-monthly. 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 89 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 28 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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-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: Tuesday, June 13, 2023