Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Prices in the Boston area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), advanced 0.2 percent for the two months ending in March 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner William J. Sibley noted that the March increase was influenced primarily by higher prices for shelter. (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 4.7 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The index for all items less food and energy advanced 4.1 percent over the year. Food prices increased 9.2 percent. Energy prices increased 3.5 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of electricity. (See table 1.)
Food prices increased 0.6 percent for the two months ending in March. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home advanced 0.3 percent, with increases in four of the six grocery categories. Prices for food away from home increased 1.2 percent for the same period.
Over the year, food prices increased 9.2 percent. Prices for food at home increased 11.1 percent, and prices for food away from home increased 6.1 percent.
For the two months ending in March, the energy index declined 3.2 percent, driven by a 13.7-percent decline in natural gas prices. Electricity charges decreased 0.5 percent, while prices also declined for fuel oil. Gasoline prices declined 2.6 percent.
Energy prices increased 3.5 percent over the year. A 21.4-percent advance in household energy prices was largely offset by a 20.9-percent decrease in gasoline prices. Within household energy, electricity prices climbed 45.3 percent; on the other hand, declines were recorded for natural gas (0.4 percent) and fuel oil.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.4 percent for the two months ending in March. Shelter prices rose 2.0 percent, with higher prices for owners’ equivalent rent (1.1 percent), residential rent (1.0 percent), and out-of-town lodging contributing to the advance. New and used motor vehicles prices rose 1.9 percent, and prices for other goods and services increased 3.1 percent. Lower prices for recreation (-5.5 percent) and medical care (-2.4 percent) partially offset these increases.
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 4.1 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (6.9 percent)—with increases reported for owners’ equivalent rent (6.7 percent) and residential rent (7.8 percent)— and other goods and services (8.2 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were price decreases in apparel (-5.3 percent) and recreation (-2.0 percent).
The May 2023 Consumer Price Index for the Boston area is scheduled to be released on June 13, 2023.
The Consumer Price Index for Boston 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 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, 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, MA-NH Core Based Statistical Area covered in this release is comprised of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk Counties in Massachusetts and Rockingham and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire.
Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.
|Item and Group||Indexes||Percent change from-|
All items (1967=100)
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 medical care
All items less shelter
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: Wednesday, April 12, 2023