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19-1816-PHI
Thursday, October 10, 2019

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – September 2019

Area prices up 0.1 percent since July, up 0.9 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria inched up 0.1 percent from July to September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due entirely to a 0.5-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index and the food index decreased since July, down 4.1 and 0.3 percent, respectively. (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 advanced 0.9 percent, reflecting a 0.8-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since September 2018, the food index and energy index also advanced, up 2.0 and 0.2 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 0.6-percent decline from May to July, the food index edged down 0.3 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home decreased 0.5 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for frozen and freeze dried prepared foods; while prices were higher for eggs and citrus fruits. Food away from home prices decreased over the last two months, down 0.1 percent.

Food prices increased 2.0 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both food at home (2.2 percent) and food away from home (1.8 percent) since September 2018.

Energy

Since July, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 4.1 percent, due to lower prices for gasoline (-7.2 percent) and for utility (piped) gas service (-10.4 percent). Prices were higher for electricity (2.3 percent) over the past two months.

Energy prices edged up 0.2 percent since September 2018, due to higher prices for utility (piped) gas service (90.2 percent). Prices for electricity also increased over the year, up 1.4 percent, while gasoline prices declined 10.3 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.5 percent since July. The advance was led by higher prices for shelter (1.2 percent); apparel (6.1 percent) and education and communication (1.3 percent) were among the indexes that had increases over the last two months. Decreased prices for household furnishings and operations (-3.1 percent), among others, moderated the rise in the all items less food and energy index from July to September.

Since September 2018, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.8 percent. Prices were higher for shelter (1.0 percent), medical care (3.2 percent), and household furnishings and operations (5.4 percent), among others. Apparel and education and communication prices decreased 6.3 and 2.4 percent, respectively, since September 2018.

Table A. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

-1.1 -0.2 -0.2 1.5 0.2 1.5 0.9 2.2 0.5 0.8

March

1.2 0.2 0.8 1.1 0.4 1.1 -0.1 1.8 0.7 1.6

May

0.7 0.6 0.8 1.2 0.0 0.3 0.7 2.5 0.6 1.6

July

-0.3 0.3 -0.2 1.3 0.0 0.5 0.1 2.5 -0.3 1.2

September

0.6 0.7 -0.3 0.5 0.9 1.7 0.4 2.0 0.1 0.9

November

-0.4 0.5 0.2 1.1 0.0 1.5 -0.7 1.3

The Consumer Price Index for November 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).


Technical Note

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 94 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 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 75 urban areas across the country from about 5,000 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 (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/pdf/homch17.pdf.

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 sensory impaired individuals 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 category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Jul.
2019
Aug.
2019
Sep.
2019
Sep.
2018
Jul.
2019
Aug.
2019

All items

265.170   265.500 0.9 0.1  

Food and beverages

253.097   252.494 1.8 -0.2  

Food

258.656   257.869 2.0 -0.3  

Food at home

247.149 246.699 245.972 2.2 -0.5 -0.3

Cereals and bakery products

324.293   322.678 2.8 -0.5  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

265.394   268.230 3.3 1.1  

Dairy and related products

237.810   242.622 2.4 2.0  

Fruits and vegetables

274.063   272.254 4.2 -0.7  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

223.883   214.494 7.7 -4.2  

Other food at home

197.158   195.551 -3.1 -0.8  

Food away from home

274.167   273.881 1.8 -0.1  

Alcoholic beverages

199.203   200.435 -1.0 0.6  

Housing

277.925   279.485 2.3 0.6  

Shelter

332.426 333.438 336.338 1.0 1.2 0.9

Rent of primary residence

365.851 368.464 368.766 2.3 0.8 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

340.111 341.055 341.865 1.4 0.5 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

340.111 341.055 341.865 1.4 0.5 0.2

Fuels and utilities

241.915   240.200 12.0 -0.7  

Household energy

188.797 191.933 187.063 13.6 -0.9 -2.5

Energy services

193.522 196.714 191.631 13.8 -1.0 -2.6

Electricity

217.307 217.318 222.309 1.4 2.3 2.3

Utility (piped) gas service

138.780 147.633 124.332 90.2 -10.4 -15.8

Household furnishings and operations

112.681   109.225 5.4 -3.1  

Apparel

157.230   166.761 -6.3 6.1  

Transportation

219.883   215.337 -1.1 -2.1  

Private transportation

218.131   212.642 -1.7 -2.5  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

95.288   92.906 0.2 -2.5  

New vehicles(1)

194.686   191.948 -2.6 -1.4  

Used cars and trucks(1)

304.944   296.799 2.9 -2.7  

Motor fuel

252.909 245.321 234.972 -10.2 -7.1 -4.2

Gasoline (all types)

250.204 242.658 232.292 -10.3 -7.2 -4.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

244.193 236.586 226.066 -10.7 -7.4 -4.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

251.417 244.283 236.649 -7.5 -5.9 -3.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

266.098 260.374 252.671 -7.0 -5.0 -3.0

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

845.972   859.819 0.8 1.6  

Medical care

461.061   459.966 3.2 -0.2  

Recreation(3)

117.384   116.345 -1.0 -0.9  

Education and communication(3)

150.598   152.548 -2.4 1.3  

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

1,386.766   1,408.443 -0.8 1.6  

Other goods and services

419.337   416.673 2.4 -0.6  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

181.460   180.187 -1.1 -0.7  

Commodities less food and beverages

145.108   143.615 -3.1 -1.0  

Nondurables less food and beverages

193.191   191.276 -5.7 -1.0  

Durables

100.992   99.904 0.5 -1.1  

Services

341.164   343.147 2.1 0.6  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

238.079   237.022 0.9 -0.4  

All items less medical care

255.918   256.317 0.7 0.2  

Commodities less food

147.658   146.257 -3.0 -0.9  

Nondurables

222.252   220.974 -1.7 -0.6  

Nondurables less food

193.559   191.894 -5.3 -0.9  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

362.891   362.421 3.4 -0.1  

Services less medical care services

329.411   331.383 1.8 0.6  

Energy

221.020 219.335 211.896 0.2 -4.1 -3.4

All items less energy

271.918   273.009 1.0 0.4  

All items less food and energy

275.580   277.016 0.8 0.5  

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: Thursday, October 10, 2019