Thursday, August 10, 2023
Prices in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), decreased 0.1 percent for the 2 months ending in July 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that the July decline was due in large part to falling prices for recreation and lodging away from home. The all items less food and energy index, which includes the forementioned categories, contributed the most to the decrease as it fell 0.2 percent. Declining prices in the food index, down 0.3 percent, also contributed to the overall index decrease. Tempering the fall was the energy index, up 2.4 percent, continuing the trend of increases since March’s 3.7 percent decrease. (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 advanced 1.8 percent — the smallest rise in 2 years. The all items less food and energy index was mainly responsible for the total increase as it rose 2.9 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Food prices were up 2.1 percent over the year, well below last July’s peak of 8.9 percent. The energy index declined 12.6 percent, holding down the overall all items index change, largely due to lower gasoline prices. (See table 1.)Food
The food index fell 0.3 percent over the last 2 months. Prices for food at home were down 0.5 percent—continuing a trend of declines since March 2023. Within the food at home category, meats, poultry, fish, and eggs prices decreased 1.6 percent, largely due to falling prices for chicken and fresh fish and seafood. Other food at home was down 1.3 percent, recording the index’s first decline of the year. Cereals and bakery products prices also declined (-2.1 percent). The remaining grocery categories had rising prices, such as fruits and vegetables (+1.7 percent) and nonalcoholic beverages (+2.0 percent). For the same period, food away from home advanced 0.2 percent.
From July 2022 to July 2023, food prices increased 2.1 percent. Food away from home increased as well, up 5.9 percent. With the first over-the-year decrease this year, the food at home index (-0.2 percent) tempered the overall index rise. Declining prices in meats, poultry, fish, and eggs led the drop (-2.9 percent). The cereals and bakery products and dairy and related products indexes both decreased 1.9 percent and fell for the first time since 2021. Partially offsetting the fall in food at home prices were other food at home, up 1.2 percent (smallest 12-month increase since July 2021), fruits and vegetables (+2.0 percent), and nonalcoholic beverages (+2.1 percent).Energy
The energy index advanced 2.4 percent for the 2 months ending in July. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (+2.6 percent). The index for utility (piped) gas rose 3.5 percent and the electricity index increased 2.2 percent, but fuel oil prices fell during the same period.
Energy prices fell 12.6 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-21.5 percent). All of the over-the-year percent changes in the gasoline index have declined since March. The natural gas service index followed the same pattern, down 16.7 percent since July 2022. Prices for the electricity index increased 4.4 percent—the smallest 12-month increase in over a year and a half.All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy was down 0.2 percent in the latest 2-month period. Lower prices for recreation (-2.1 percent), led the overall index decline. Other lower prices included lodging away from home, apparel (down 1.8 percent), education and communication (down 0.4 percent), and household furnishings and operations (-0.4 percent). The overall index decline was partly offset by rising prices in shelter, up 0.2 percent. Within the shelter index, owners’ equivalent rent of residences increased (+0.9 percent) as did rent of primary residence (+0.2 percent). Higher prices were also noted in medical care (+0.5 percent) and other goods and services (+0.8 percent).
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.9 percent. The 12-month percent change for the all items less food and energy index has been higher than the all items index since March. The July rise was primarily due to a 5.0-percent rise in the shelter index, as owners’ equivalent rent of residences was up 5.6 percent and the index for rent of primary residence advanced 5.2 percent. Other components contributing to the increase in all items less food and energy included tuition, other school fees, and childcare (+6.3 percent); apparel (+7.1 percent); and other goods and services (+4.5 percent). Moderating the rise in the overall index was medical care, down 4.9 percent, the third consecutive decrease and the largest over-the-year decline in the history of the series.
The September 2023 Consumer Price Index for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area is scheduled to be released on October 12, 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: Thursday, August 10, 2023