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14-2273-BOS
December 17, 2014

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Brockton-Nashua - November 2014

Area prices up over two months; up 1.6 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Brockton-Nashua area was up 0.2 percent in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that the two-month increase was mainly due to higher prices for electricity and utility (piped) gas. To a lesser extent, price advances within the all items less food and energy category also contributed. (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 1.6 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher shelter prices, up 3.1 percent. (See chart 1.)  

 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Boston-Brockton-Nashua, November 2011 - November 2014

Food

Food prices edged up 0.2 percent since September due to higher grocery store prices, also known as food at home, up 0.4 percent. Partially offsetting this rise, food away from home, or restaurant prices, were down 0.2 percent.

From November 2013 to November 2014 the index for food rose 1.8 percent mainly due to higher grocery store prices (+2.3 percent) and, to a lesser extent, higher restaurant prices (+0.9 percent).  

Energy

The energy index rose slightly, up 0.8 percent over the two months, mainly due to both electricity and utility (piped) gas price increases. Utility (piped) gas prices were up due to suppliers switching to winter rate schedules. These increases were largely offset by lower gasoline prices, down 13.4 percent.  Area motorists paid $3.011 per gallon of gasoline in November.

Energy prices edged down 0.2 percent from a year ago, attributable to lower gasoline prices, down 10.4 percent. Partially offsetting this decline were 21.4-percent and 8.6-percent advances in local electricity and utility (piped) gas prices, respectively. The November increase in local electricity prices was the largest since a 23.4-percent increase was recorded in October of 2006.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.1 percent in November, due to higher prices for medical care and other goods and services. The increase in medical care was mainly attributable to higher prices within eye glasses and eye care. Lower prices for education and communication as well as apparel mostly offset these increases. 

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.8 percent, with higher shelter costs, rising 3.1 percent from November 2013, being the main cause of this increase. This marked the 41st consecutive annual increase in the local shelter index.

CPI-W

In November, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 255.903. The CPI-W was unchanged over two months and rose 1.0 percent over the year.

The January 2015 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Brockton-Nashua is scheduled to be released on Thursday, February 26, 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 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 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 www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch17_a.htm.

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 and Suffolk Counties and parts of Bristol, Hampden, and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts; parts of Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire; part of York County in Maine; and part of 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.

 

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Boston-Brockton-Nashua, Ma.-N.H.-Maine-Conn., (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
 
Historical
data
Sep.
2014
Oct.
2014
Nov.
2014
Nov.
2013
Sep.
2014
Oct.
2014

All items

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255.878   256.262 1.6 0.2  

All items (1967 = 100)

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743.715   744.833      
 

Food and beverages

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251.453   252.097 1.8 0.3  

Food

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251.716   252.201 1.8 0.2  

Food at home

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242.474 242.198 243.441 2.3 0.4 0.5

Food away from home

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266.983   266.552 0.9 -0.2  

Alcoholic beverages

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252.108   254.396 1.9 0.9  
 

Housing

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251.356   255.285 3.7 1.6  

Shelter

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295.662 295.295 295.641 3.1 0.0 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

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304.672 305.104 305.536 2.7 0.3 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1) (2) (3)

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312.866 313.349 314.572 3.1 0.5 0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2) (3)

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312.866 313.349 314.572 3.1 0.5 0.4

Fuels and utilities

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245.160   280.444 9.1 14.4  

Household energy

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205.945 201.711 240.231 10.3 16.6 19.1

Energy services (1)

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190.950 187.922 240.049 17.0 25.7 27.7

Electricity (1)

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208.654 206.440 250.453 21.4 20.0 21.3

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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153.232 148.805 214.262 8.6 39.8 44.0

Household furnishings and operations

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127.244   127.113 1.6 -0.1  
 

Apparel

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150.798   148.429 0.2 -1.6  
 

Transportation

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206.609   198.617 -3.3 -3.9  

Private transportation

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205.957   195.175 -3.8 -5.2  

Motor fuel

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294.746 278.453 255.220 -10.4 -13.4 -8.3

Gasoline (all types)

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291.266 275.152 252.153 -10.4 -13.4 -8.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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288.169 271.085 246.919 -11.2 -14.3 -8.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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299.454 285.698 265.428 -8.7 -11.4 -7.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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286.700 274.399 256.425 -7.9 -10.6 -6.6
 

Medical care

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588.820   597.061 1.9 1.4  
 

Recreation (6)

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114.602   114.268 0.6 -0.3  
 

Education and communication (6)

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149.764   148.429 -0.6 -0.9  
 

Other goods and services

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439.841   447.550 3.7 1.8  
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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196.455   192.729 -0.5 -1.9  

Commodities less food and beverages

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167.083   161.229 -2.3 -3.5  

Nondurables less food and beverages

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223.759   212.620 -2.6 -5.0  

Durables

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112.084   111.193 -1.7 -0.8  

Services

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308.801   313.173 2.9 1.4  
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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242.892   243.442 0.9 0.2  

All items less medical care

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242.839   242.973 1.6 0.1  

Commodities less food

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170.420   164.916 -2.0 -3.2  

Nondurables

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236.275   231.136 -0.2 -2.2  

Nondurables less food

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224.241   214.302 -2.1 -4.4  

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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340.084   350.181 2.7 3.0  

Services less medical care services

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289.764   293.808 3.1 1.4  

Energy

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243.098 233.648 245.031 -0.2 0.8 4.9

All items less energy

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260.785   261.028 1.8 0.1  

All items less food and energy

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263.091   263.285 1.8 0.1  

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) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences, and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(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.
 

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

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, December 17, 2014