Wednesday, December 13, 2017
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Brockton-Nashua area edged down 0.2 percent in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that the two-month decrease was mainly due to lower prices within shelter, down 0.8 percent and, to a lesser extent, lower food prices, down 0.2 percent. Moderating these declines were higher energy prices, up 3.3 percent over the period. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bimonthly changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)
Over the last 12 months, the Boston CPI-U rose 2.9 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher shelter costs within all items less food and energy, up 2.2 percent (See chart 1.). Higher energy prices paid by area consumers, up 13.3 percent, and to a lesser extent, higher food prices, up 1.3 percent, also contributed to the increase.
Food prices edged down 0.2 percent since September mainly due to lower grocery store or food at home prices, down 0.2 percent. Restaurant prices, or food away from home, were unchanged over the period.
Food prices increased 1.3 percent over the year, mainly due to higher food at home prices, up 1.5 percent. Restaurant prices, or food away from home edged up, 1.0 percent, and also contributed to the overall increase.
The energy index increased 3.3 percent over the two months, mainly driven by higher utility (piped) gas prices, up 29.1 percent due to suppliers switching to winter rates. Lower gasoline prices, down 4.9 percent, partially offset the overall increase. Higher electricity prices advanced 4.8 percent and further contributed to the overall increase over the period.
Energy prices were up 13.3 percent from a year ago, largely attributable to higher gasoline prices, up 17.6 percent. To a lesser extent, higher prices for electricity and utility (piped) gas also contributed to the overall increase, up 9.6 and 8.2 percent, respectively.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy decreased from September (0.6 percent) mainly due to lower shelter costs. Within shelter, lodging away from home prices or hotel and motel prices declined sharply. The decrease was partially offset by higher costs within owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 0.9 percent. Lower prices for apparel, down 5.9 percent and recreation, down 2.5 percent further contributed to the overall decline. Also, partially offsetting the overall decrease were higher prices within education and communication, up 0.6 percent over the period.
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 3.0 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 2.8 percent, led the increase.
In November, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 268.524. The CPI-W was up 0.3 percent over two months and increased 3.0 percent over the year.
The January 2018 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).
In January 2018, BLS will introduce a new geographic area sample for the Consumer Price Index. As part of the new sample, the index for this area will be renamed. The first indexes using the new structure will be published in February 2018. Additional information on the geographic revision is available at: www.bls.gov/cpi/additional-resources/geographic-revision-2018.htm.
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 6,000 housing units and approximately 24,000 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 change 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 https://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/pdf/homch17.pdf.
In calculating the index, price changes for the various items in each location are averaged together withweights 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-Brockton-Nashua, Mass.-N.H.-Maine-Conn. consolidated area covered in this release is comprised of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, Bristol, Hampden, and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts; Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire; York County in Maine; and Windham County in Connecticut.
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.
|Expenditure category||Indexes||Percent change from|
All items (1967 = 100)
Food and beverages
Food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence(1)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service(1)
Household furnishings and operations
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)
Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)
Education and communication(6)
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
Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.
Last Modified Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2017