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News Release Information

21-873-SAN
Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270

Consumer Price Index, Seattle area — April 2021

Area prices were up 1.1 percent over the past two months, up 3.4 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Seattle area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), advanced 1.1 percent for the two months ending in April 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Chris Rosenlund noted that the April increase was influenced by higher prices for gasoline, used cars and trucks, and shelter. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U increased 3.4 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Food prices increased 2.8 percent. Energy prices jumped 20.1 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.7 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices rose 0.8 percent for the two months ending in April. (See table 1.) Prices for food away from home increased 0.9 percent. Prices for food at home moved up 0.8 percent, led by higher prices for cereals and bakery products (4.4 percent) for the same period.

Over the year, food prices rose 2.8 percent. Prices for food away from home increased 5.0 percent since a year ago, and prices for food at home rose 0.9 percent, with widespread price increases across most categories except for other food at home (-4.0 percent) and cereals and bakery products (-1.5 percent).

Energy

The energy index rose 9.4 percent for the two months ending in April. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (15.6 percent). Prices for electricity advanced 1.6 percent, while prices for natural gas service were unchanged for the same period.

Energy prices jumped 20.1 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for gasoline (34.8 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service rose 3.2 percent, and prices for electricity rose 3.1 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.7 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for used cars and trucks (11.9 percent) and shelter (0.5 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-3.0 percent) and recreation (-1.3 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.7 percent. Components contributing to the increase included used cars and trucks (22.8 percent), education and communication (4.2 percent), and shelter (1.7 percent).

Table A. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

February

1.0 3.4 0.8 3.3 0.7 2.7 1.0 2.5 1.2 1.7

April

0.8 3.1 0.8 3.3 0.5 2.4 -0.6 1.3 1.1 3.4

June

0.8 3.0 0.8 3.3 0.7 2.3 0.2 0.9

August

-0.2 2.5 -0.3 3.1 0.6 3.2 1.4 1.6

October

0.5 3.0 0.4 3.1 -0.6 2.2 -0.1 2.1

December

0.5 3.5 0.2 2.8 0.3 2.2 -0.4 1.4

The June 2021 Consumer Price Index for the Seattle area is scheduled to be released on July 13, 2021.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on April 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 April 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 https://www.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 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA. metropolitan area covered in this release is comprised of King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties in the State of Washington.

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments 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

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group

Indexes Percent change from-
Feb.
2021
Mar.
2021
Apr.
2021
Apr.
2020
Feb.
2021
Mar.
2021

Expenditure category

All items

286.950 - 290.068 3.4 1.1 -

All items (1967=100)

874.734 - 884.239 - - -

Food and beverages

293.972 - 297.714 4.0 1.3 -

Food

296.579 - 299.051 2.8 0.8 -

Food at home

268.127 268.893 270.284 0.9 0.8 0.5

Cereals and bakery products

299.084 - 312.384 -1.5 4.4 -

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

234.170 - 240.646 3.6 2.8 -

Dairy and related products

243.434 - 231.473 1.1 -4.9 -

Fruits and vegetables

432.217 - 433.081 7.0 0.2 -

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

335.867 - 343.834 0.4 2.4 -

Other food at home

214.158 - 213.207 -4.0 -0.4 -

Food away from home

340.121 - 343.069 5.0 0.9 -

Alcoholic beverages

262.556 - 277.191 17.4 5.6 -

Housing

344.131 - 344.295 1.6 0.0 -

Shelter

394.825 395.103 396.604 1.7 0.5 0.4

Rent of primary residence(2)

402.565 403.263 405.162 1.1 0.6 0.5

Owners' equiv. rent of residences(2)(3)

417.945 417.537 417.725 1.1 -0.1 0.0

Owners' equiv. rent of primary residence(1)(2)

417.945 417.537 417.725 1.1 -0.1 0.0

Fuels and utilities

285.630 - 287.746 2.7 0.7 -

Household energy

254.125 254.424 257.375 3.3 1.3 1.2

Energy services(2)

300.680 300.680 304.408 3.1 1.2 1.2

Electricity(2)

326.219 326.219 331.556 3.1 1.6 1.6

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

175.147 175.147 175.147 3.2 0.0 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

190.040 - 184.304 0.1 -3.0 -

Apparel

124.238 - 125.187 5.9 0.8 -

Transportation

220.345 - 236.824 10.9 7.5 -

Private transportation

234.765 - 250.291 10.2 6.6 -

New and used motor vehicles(4)

99.898 - 105.522 - 5.6 -

New vehicles(1)

181.409 - 180.997 - -0.2 -

Used cars and trucks(1)

349.095 - 390.546 22.8 11.9 -

Motor fuel

334.701 368.651 386.788 34.5 15.6 4.9

Gasoline (all types)

341.876 376.753 395.318 34.8 15.6 4.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

369.370 407.932 427.958 35.7 15.9 4.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

272.157 297.549 307.273 24.4 12.9 3.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

320.388 350.185 368.529 32.5 15.0 5.2

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

599.598 - 599.598 4.0 0.0 -

Medical care

414.255 - 414.581 0.0 0.1 -

Recreation(6)

100.265 - 98.987 3.8 -1.3 -

Education and communication(6)

146.480 - 146.785 4.2 0.2 -

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

1,732.862 - 1,737.477 3.3 0.3 -

Other goods and services

430.666 - - - - -

Commodity and service group

All items

286.950 - 290.068 3.4 1.1 -

Commodities

201.187 - 205.079 5.1 1.9 -

Commodities less food & beverages

156.667 - 160.572 6.0 2.5 -

Nondurables less food & beverages

187.550 - 194.627 8.2 3.8 -

Durables

124.790 - 126.048 3.4 1.0 -

Services

366.931 - 369.151 2.5 0.6 -

Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

281.271 - 284.531 3.7 1.2 -

All items less shelter

245.606 - 249.146 4.4 1.4 -

Commodities less food

160.914 - 165.285 6.8 2.7 -

Nondurables

238.813 - 244.176 5.7 2.2 -

Nondurables less food

193.876 - 201.636 9.3 4.0 -

Services less rent of shelter(3)

341.726 - 344.529 3.5 0.8 -

Services less medical care services

359.372 - 361.856 2.6 0.7 -

Energy

301.328 318.899 329.710 20.1 9.4 3.4

All items less energy

289.064 - 291.054 2.7 0.7 -

All items less food and energy

287.957 - 289.862 2.7 0.7 -

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a November 1977=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 December 1982=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.

- Data not available
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021