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21-1498-BOS
Thursday, August 12, 2021

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Cambridge-Newton — July 2021

Area prices up 1.2 percent over two months; up 4.3 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Boston area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), advanced 1.2 percent for the two months ending in July 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table.) Regional Commissioner William J. Sibley noted that the July increase was influenced by higher prices for all items less food and energy, led by higher shelter and new and used motor vehicle prices, up 1.8 and 7.4 percent, respectively. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U advanced 4.3 percent. This was the largest advance since September 2008. (See chart 1 and table.) The index for all items less food and energy increased 3.3 percent over the year. Higher shelter and new and used motor vehicles costs, up 3.0 and 23.4 percent, respectively, led the increase. Energy prices jumped 24.8 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of gasoline. Food prices increased 2.1 percent. (See table.)

(See table.)

Food

Food prices rose 1.1 percent for the two months ending in July. (See table.) Prices for food at home crept up 0.1 percent, and prices for food away from home increased 2.5 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices increased 2.1 percent. Prices for food at home decreased 2.7 percent since a year ago, and prices for food away from home increased 9.4 percent.

Energy

The energy index rose 1.5 percent for the two months ending in July. The decrease was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (4.5 percent). Prices for natural gas service were unchanged, and prices for  electricity decreased 1.1 percent for the same period.

Energy prices jumped 24.8 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for gasoline (43.8 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service jumped 19.3 percent, and prices for electricity advanced 5.7 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.2 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for shelter (1.8 percent), new and used motor vehicles (7.4 percent), and recreation (1.1 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for apparel (-4.1 percent) and medical care (-0.5 percent).  Higher shelter costs were attributable to increased owners’ equivalent rent of residences costs, up 0.7 percent.  Within new and used motor vehicles, higher costs for used cars and trucks, up 12.3 percent, drove the increase.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 3.3 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (3.0 percent) and new and used motor vehicles (23.4 percent). Within shelter, higher prices within owners’ equivalent rent of residences led the increase (2.2 percent). Within new and used motor vehicles, higher prices for used cars and trucks led the advance (43.7 percent). This was the largest yearly advance since the series began in November 2017. Partly offsetting the increases were price decreases in apparel (-0.4 percent) and medical care (-0.1 percent).

CPI-W

In July, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 294.075. The CPI-W increased 1.2 percent over two months and increased 4.4 percent over the year.

The September 2021 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton area is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on July 2021 Consumer Price Index Data

Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in July was affected by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the number of prices considered temporarily unavailable and imputed.

While the CPI program attempted to collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month. Additional information is available atwww.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.htm

 


Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measures 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 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H. Core Based Statistical Area covered in this release is comprised of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk Counties in Massachusetts; Rockingham, Strafford Counties in New Hampshire.

Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339. 

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Ma.-N.H. (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure categoryIndexesPercent change from
Historical
data
May
2021
Jun.
2021
Jul.
2021
Jul.
2020
May
2021
Jun.
2021

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0
291.667 295.2114.31.2 

All items (1967 = 100)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11AAA0
847.738 858.038   

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF
289.240 292.3892.31.1 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF1
291.594 294.8192.11.1 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF11
265.725265.015266.042-2.70.10.4

Cereal and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF111
319.379 318.899-1.8-0.2 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF112
283.348 281.663-5.3-0.6 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFJ
290.198 284.953-3.0-1.8 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF113
347.441 353.6430.71.8 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF114
168.617 163.862-4.2-2.8 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF115
202.702 206.251-2.91.8 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFV
337.021 345.3979.42.5 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF116
267.683 270.0665.10.9 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH
304.058 308.3943.81.4 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH1
362.801368.092369.2083.01.80.3

Rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHA
375.599376.991376.7201.50.3-0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)(3)(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC
390.503390.685393.3532.20.70.7

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)(3)(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC01
390.503390.685393.3532.20.70.7

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH2
294.889 293.11811.9-0.6 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH21
244.715245.187243.03812.9-0.7-0.9

Energy services(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF
257.078258.005255.0289.5-0.8-1.2

Electricity(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF01
306.803308.385303.2955.7-1.1-1.7

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF02
170.924170.927170.92819.30.00.0

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH3
131.507 132.1044.40.5 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAA
128.455 123.164-0.4-4.1 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT
206.781 213.98117.63.5 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT1
211.085 221.40620.14.9 

New and used motor vehicles(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA
120.889 129.89223.47.4 

New Vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA01
211.375 221.5443.24.8 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA02
412.651 463.29243.712.3 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB
251.448256.887262.65643.54.52.2

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB01
248.840254.172259.91843.84.52.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47014
241.364246.649252.32445.74.52.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47015
267.241272.908278.81235.44.32.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47016
261.125265.915271.25332.53.92.0

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETE
      

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAM
698.880 695.077-0.1-0.5 

Recreation(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAR
116.623 117.8861.01.1 

Education and communication(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAE
173.280 174.1511.50.5 

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEEB
1,424.214 1,431.9362.30.5 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAG
522.728 529.5242.51.3 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAC
202.069 205.8057.81.8 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL11
157.457 161.26412.22.4 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL11
198.430 199.41310.70.5 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAD
116.681 122.27014.24.8 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAS
372.461 375.8602.60.9 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L2
265.827 268.1685.10.9 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L5
276.152 279.9284.61.4 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL1
161.844 165.61611.82.3 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAN
242.577 244.6075.70.8 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL1
202.531 203.61410.10.5 

Services less rent of shelter(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL2RS
400.335 399.6862.2-0.2 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL5
348.836 352.7093.01.1 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0E
245.456248.027249.24924.81.50.5

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0LE
300.114 303.6973.21.2 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L1E
302.595 306.2493.31.2 

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a January 1978=100 base.
(2) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(3) Indexes on a November 1982=100 base.
(4) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences, and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(5) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(6) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(7) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: Thursday, August 12, 2021