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Friday, April 17, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Northeast Region – March 2015

Area prices up 0.3 percent over the month; down 0.4 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Northeast edged up 0.3 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that this was mostly due to a 0.3-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index also increased over the month, up 1.1 percent. These one-month increases were partially offset by a 0.1-percent decline in the food index. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the Northeast all items CPI-U decreased 0.4 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The energy index fell 19.7 percent over the year, while the all items less food and energy index was 1.5 percent higher. Food prices also increased from March 2014, up 2.2 percent. (See table 1.)

 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Northeast region, March 2012-March 2015

Food

Food prices inched down 0.1 percent in March after being unchanged in February. Food at home prices edged down 0.2 percent, while food away from home prices increased 0.1 percent over the month.

From March 2014 to March 2015, the food index increased 2.2 percent. Food at home prices rose 2.1 percent over the year and prices for food away from home increased 2.3 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 1.1 percent since February, following nine consecutive one-month decreases. This was due to a 7.4-percent increase in the gasoline index, moderated by decreases in both electricity and utility (piped) gas service prices, down 5.1 and 3.4 percent, respectively.

The energy index fell 19.7 percent since March 2014—the largest 12-month decrease since September 2009.  The decrease was mostly due to a 31.3-percent drop in gasoline prices. Prices for utility (piped) gas service also dropped over the year, down 16.5 percent—the largest 12-month decrease for this index since December 2009. The electricity index also decreased, down 0.4 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.3 percent in March. Shelter prices rose 0.3 percent, led by higher prices for lodging away from home. The apparel index posted a seasonal increase, up 2.0 percent. Prices were also higher for new and used motor vehicles (0.8 percent) and household furnishings and operations (1.0 percent), while those for education and communication declined 0.1 percent.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 1.5 percent, led by higher prices for shelter (2.2 percent). Prices were also higher for medical care (3.3 percent). Moderating the 12-month advance in the all items less food and energy index were lower prices for household furnishings and operations and recreation, down 0.7 and 0.1 percent, respectively.

 

Table A. Northeast region CPI-U 1-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
1-month 12-month 1-month 12-month 1-month 12-month 1-month 12-month 1-month 12-month

January

0.4 1.6 0.4 2.9 0.3 1.8 0.6 1.5 -0.2 -0.4

February

0.5 2.0 0.4 2.8 0.6 2.0 0.1 1.0 0.2 -0.2

March

0.8 2.5 0.5 2.5 0.0 1.5 0.5 1.5 0.3 -0.4

April

0.5 2.8 0.3 2.3 -0.1 1.1 0.0 1.6    

May

0.5 3.2 -0.1 1.7 0.0 1.2 0.4 2.0    

June

0.1 3.4 -0.2 1.5 0.1 1.5 0.0 1.9    

July

0.2 3.6 -0.1 1.1 0.2 1.8 0.1 1.8    

August

0.3 3.8 0.5 1.3 0.2 1.5 -0.3 1.3    

September

0.1 4.0 0.5 1.7 0.1 1.1 0.0 1.2    

October

-0.1 3.6 0.1 1.9 -0.4 0.7 -0.2 1.4    

November

-0.1 3.2 -0.2 1.8 0.1 1.0 -0.4 0.9    

December

-0.3 2.9 -0.3 1.8 0.0 1.3 -0.5 0.4    

The Consumer Price Index for April 2015 is scheduled to be released Friday, May 22, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).


Technical Note

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 approximately 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 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 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/homch17_a.htm.

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 Northeast region is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Northeast Region, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
 
Historical
data
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015
Mar.
2014
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015

All items

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250.016 250.619 251.451 -0.4 0.6 0.3

All items (December 1977 = 100)

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393.699 394.648 395.958      
 

Food and beverages

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250.774 250.897 250.658 2.1 0.0 -0.1

Food

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250.847 250.917 250.711 2.2 -0.1 -0.1

Food at home

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248.942 248.881 248.385 2.1 -0.2 -0.2

Food away from home

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256.799 257.064 257.287 2.3 0.2 0.1

Alcoholic beverages

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248.652 249.447 248.785 1.1 0.1 -0.3
 

Housing

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263.363 264.049 264.040 0.8 0.3 0.0

Shelter

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320.295 321.074 321.995 2.2 0.5 0.3

Rent of primary residence (1)

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321.124 321.961 322.538 2.7 0.4 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1) (2)

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332.339 332.996 333.117 1.9 0.2 0.0

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2)

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332.166 332.815 332.929 1.9 0.2 0.0

Fuels and utilities

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225.280 226.898 220.864 -6.8 -2.0 -2.7

Household energy

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203.231 204.961 198.476 -8.3 -2.3 -3.2

Energy services (1)

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201.727 203.334 193.794 -5.0 -3.9 -4.7

Electricity (1)

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210.584 214.691 203.688 -0.4 -3.3 -5.1

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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169.493 165.164 159.589 -16.5 -5.8 -3.4

Household furnishings and operations

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123.219 122.954 124.224 -0.7 0.8 1.0
 

Apparel

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127.778 131.201 133.810 2.2 4.7 2.0
 

Transportation

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195.235 195.156 198.706 -8.9 1.8 1.8

Private transportation

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187.107 186.628 190.545 -9.7 1.8 2.1

New and used motor vehicles (3)

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97.019 97.384 98.195 -0.2 1.2 0.8

New vehicles

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144.923 145.396 145.298 0.6 0.3 -0.1

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

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100.409 100.757 100.671 0.6 0.3 -0.1

New cars (4)

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138.324 138.743 138.321 0.3 0.0 -0.3

Used cars and trucks

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148.559 150.518 154.140 -1.2 3.8 2.4

Motor fuel

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196.553 192.644 206.834 -31.3 5.2 7.4

Gasoline (all types)

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195.288 191.458 205.554 -31.3 5.3 7.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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193.172 189.577 204.223 -32.0 5.7 7.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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208.492 203.032 215.109 -29.5 3.2 5.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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202.677 197.472 208.923 -28.1 3.1 5.8
 

Medical care

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462.132 465.554 466.218 3.3 0.9 0.1

Medical care commodities

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374.814 379.834 378.847 3.8 1.1 -0.3

Medical care services

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486.233 489.058 490.284 3.1 0.8 0.3

Professional services

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358.844 360.957 361.833 3.1 0.8 0.2
 

Recreation (3)

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119.495 120.103 120.624 -0.1 0.9 0.4
 

Education and communication (3)

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138.118 137.904 137.729 0.1 -0.3 -0.1
 

Other goods and services

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448.803 444.710 445.092 1.5 -0.8 0.1
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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185.655 186.174 188.161 -3.7 1.3 1.1

Commodities less food and beverages

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150.020 150.688 153.552 -7.4 2.4 1.9

Nondurables less food and beverages

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187.409 188.497 193.647 -10.6 3.3 2.7

Durables

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106.389 106.641 107.300 -1.8 0.9 0.6

Services

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312.501 313.190 312.989 1.5 0.2 -0.1
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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226.115 226.657 227.463 -1.7 0.6 0.4

All items less medical care

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240.691 241.177 242.013 -0.7 0.5 0.3

Commodities less food

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153.606 154.280 157.049 -7.0 2.2 1.8

Nondurables

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218.962 219.602 222.240 -4.2 1.5 1.2

Nondurables less food

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190.977 192.046 196.843 -9.8 3.1 2.5

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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315.145 315.746 314.278 0.8 -0.3 -0.5

Services less medical care services

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300.447 301.003 300.717 1.4 0.1 -0.1

Energy

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200.653 200.035 202.160 -19.7 0.8 1.1

All items less energy

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257.555 258.290 258.996 1.6 0.6 0.3

All items less food and energy

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260.414 261.272 262.145 1.5 0.7 0.3

Footnotes
(1) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(2) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

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

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 17, 2015