Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Prices in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), crept up 0.2 percent for the two months ending in December 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Michael Hirniak noted that an increase in the index for energy, up 4.2 percent, was the largest contributor to the rise. (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 0.7 percent. The index for all items less food and energy also increased 0.7 percent over the year and food prices rose 3.0 percent. Partially countering these increases, energy prices declined 3.8 percent. (See chart 1 and table 1.)
Food prices rose 1.0 percent for the two months ending in December. Within the two components of the index, prices for food away from home advanced 2.8 percent, while prices for food at home declined 0.6 percent for the same period.
During the 12 months ending in December 2020, the index for food rose 3.0 percent. The rise reflected an increase in prices for both food away from home and food at home, which rose 4.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
The energy index increased 4.2 percent for the two months ending in December, after rising 2.3 percent in the two months ending in October. The latest increase was almost entirely due to higher prices for electricity (8.5 percent), but prices for gasoline also rose (0.2 percent). Prices for natural gas service were unchanged in the latest period.
From December 2019 to December 2020, the energy index declined 3.8 percent, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-18.3 percent), but natural gas service costs also declined (-1.7 percent). Partially countering these declines, prices paid for electricity climbed 13.4 percent over the past year.
The index for all items less food and energy fell 0.2 percent in November and December, after rising 0.3 percent in September and October. The latest movement was fueled by lower prices for apparel (-3.9 percent), other goods and services (-1.7 percent), and used cars and trucks (-1.9 percent). These declines were partially offset by higher prices for shelter (0.4 percent), recreation (1.1 percent), and new vehicles (1.0 percent).
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 0.7 percent. The components most contributing to the increase included shelter (1.3 percent), medical care (3.1 percent), and recreation (3.3 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were falling prices in categories including motor vehicle insurance (-11.5 percent), apparel (-4.5 percent), and education and communication (-2.1 percent).
The February 2021 Consumer Price Index for the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land area is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
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 December 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 at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.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 93 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 29 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 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, Core Based Statistical Area includes the counties of Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller.
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.
|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)
Motor vehicle insurance(1)
Education and communication(3)
Tuition, other school fees, and childcare(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 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
- Data not available.
Last Modified Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2021