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19-996-PHI
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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

Area prices up 0.6 percent since March, 1.6 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria increased 0.6 percent from March to May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due mainly to a 5.8-percent rise in the energy index. The all items less food and energy index and the food index also increased since March, up 0.3 and 0.7 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 1.6 percent, primarily reflecting a 1.5-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since May 2018, the food index and the energy index also advanced, up 2.5 and 0.8 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

After a 0.5-percent increase from January to March, the food index rose 0.7 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home advanced 1.1 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for canned fruits and vegetables, uncooked beef steaks, and lettuce; prices were lower for chicken and eggs. Food away from home prices also increased over the last two months, edging up 0.2 percent.

Food prices increased 2.5 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both food at home (2.8 percent) and food away from home (2.2 percent) since May 2018.

Energy

Since March, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, advanced 5.8 percent, due almost entirely to a 12.0-percent increase in gasoline prices. Prices were also higher for utility (piped) gas service (1.3 percent), but were lower for electricity (-1.0 percent) over the past two months.

Energy prices rose 0.8 percent since May 2018. Increases in both utility (piped) gas service prices (6.3 percent) and electricity prices (0.8 percent) were moderated by slightly lower prices for gasoline (-0.3 percent).

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.3 percent since March. Increases in prices for education and communication (1.5 percent) and apparel (2.1 percent) led the advance. A decrease in prices for recreation (-0.9 percent) moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index from March to May.

Since May 2018, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.5 percent. The advance was led by higher prices for shelter (1.5 percent); household furnishings and operations (4.6 percent), apparel (4.2 percent) and recreation (3.3 percent) were among the indexes that had increases over the year. Education and communication prices were down 1.7 percent since May 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

September

0.6 0.7 -0.3 0.5 0.9 1.7 0.4 2.0

November

-0.4 0.5 0.2 1.1 0.0 1.5 -0.7 1.3

The Consumer Price Index for July 2019 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, August 13, 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
Mar.
2019
Apr.
2019
May
2019
May
2018
Mar.
2019
Apr.
2019

All items

264.257   265.967 1.6 0.6  

Food and beverages

253.071   254.663 2.3 0.6  

Food

258.260   260.090 2.5 0.7  

Food at home

247.462 245.982 250.262 2.8 1.1 1.7

Cereals and bakery products

323.483   323.442 1.0 0.0  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

260.408   271.907 4.6 4.4  

Dairy and related products

231.555   232.835 -1.7 0.6  

Fruits and vegetables

277.873   282.810 3.7 1.8  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

216.871   215.845 5.4 -0.5  

Other food at home

204.959   203.695 2.0 -0.6  

Food away from home

272.855   273.439 2.2 0.2  

Alcoholic beverages

202.878   202.096 0.3 -0.4  

Housing

277.236   277.060 1.9 -0.1  

Shelter

332.881 332.956 332.978 1.5 0.0 0.0

Rent of primary residence

363.442 364.022 364.882 2.0 0.4 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

338.728 339.657 339.457 1.5 0.2 -0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

338.728 339.657 339.457 1.5 0.2 -0.1

Fuels and utilities

236.620   236.197 2.8 -0.2  

Household energy

185.705 186.075 184.988 2.2 -0.4 -0.6

Energy services

190.336 190.594 189.508 2.2 -0.4 -0.6

Electricity

212.259 210.840 210.044 0.8 -1.0 -0.4

Utility (piped) gas service

139.197 142.522 140.964 6.3 1.3 -1.1

Household furnishings and operations

110.871   110.116 4.6 -0.7  

Apparel

167.026   170.495 4.2 2.1  

Transportation

214.389   220.493 0.3 2.8  

Private transportation

213.577   219.071 0.3 2.6  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

94.892   94.838 1.6 -0.1  

New vehicles(1)

199.836   198.691 0.3 -0.6  

Used cars and trucks(1)

300.166   297.790 0.6 -0.8  

Motor fuel

234.003 254.930 261.803 -0.3 11.9 2.7

Gasoline (all types)

231.203 252.163 259.057 -0.3 12.0 2.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

225.222 246.061 253.050 -0.4 12.4 2.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

236.622 254.173 258.297 1.1 9.2 1.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

248.990 268.402 273.918 0.5 10.0 2.1

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

845.825   841.671 -1.9 -0.5  

Medical care

456.233   457.446 1.1 0.3  

Recreation(3)

119.388   118.326 3.3 -0.9  

Education and communication(3)

148.590   150.851 -1.7 1.5  

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

1,362.448   1,379.467 -0.3 1.2  

Other goods and services

416.659   417.688 2.7 0.2  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

181.747   184.526 1.6 1.5  

Commodities less food and beverages

145.509   148.652 1.0 2.2  

Nondurables less food and beverages

193.240   200.917 1.3 4.0  

Durables

101.607   101.384 0.7 -0.2  

Services

339.041   339.568 1.6 0.2  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

236.641   238.967 1.7 1.0  

All items less medical care

255.196   256.932 1.6 0.7  

Commodities less food

148.178   151.195 1.0 2.0  

Nondurables

222.264   226.985 1.9 2.1  

Nondurables less food

193.895   200.899 1.2 3.6  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

357.410   358.500 1.8 0.3  

Services less medical care services

327.669   328.040 1.6 0.1  

Energy

210.692 220.408 222.920 0.8 5.8 1.1

All items less energy

271.749   272.636 1.7 0.3  

All items less food and energy

275.451   276.171 1.5 0.3  

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: Wednesday, June 12, 2019