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16-118-SAN
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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Consumer Price Index, San Francisco Area — December 2015

Area prices were down 0.3 percent over the past two months, up 3.2 percent from a year ago

Prices in the San Francisco area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), declined 0.3 percent for the two months ending in December 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that the December decrease was influenced by lower prices for gasoline and food at home. (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 3.2 percent.  (See chart 1 and table A.) Energy prices declined 5.3 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 3.7 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

 Chart 1. Over-the-year change in CPI-U, San Francisco, December 2012 - December 2015

Food

Food prices decreased 0.7 percent for the two months ending in December. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home decreased 2.5 percent, but prices for food away from home advanced 1.4 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices increased 3.2 percent. Prices for food away from home increased 5.7 percent since a year ago, and prices for food at home moved up 1.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index decreased 6.2 percent for the two months ending in December. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-5.9 percent). Prices for natural gas service dropped 10.3 percent, and electricity prices decreased 5.4 percent for the same period.

Energy prices declined 5.3 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-8.9 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service  decreased 3.8 percent, but prices for electricity increased 0.9 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.1 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for household furnishings and operations (0.8 percent) and shelter (0.7 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for apparel (-4.6 percent) and recreation (-0.6 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 3.7 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (6.0 percent) and household furnishings and operations (3.6 percent).

Table A. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose CPI-U bi-monthly and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual

February

0.8 1.8 1.0 1.7 1.1 3.0 1.3 2.4 1.2 2.4 1.0 2.5

April

0.7 1.7 1.8 2.8 0.9 2.1 0.8 2.4 1.2 2.8 1.1 2.4

June

0.2 1.1 -0.2 2.4 0.3 2.6 0.5 2.6 0.7 3.0 0.6 2.3

August

-0.1 1.0 0.4 2.9 0.6 2.8 0.1 2.0 0.0 3.0 0.3 2.6

October

0.1 0.9 0.3 3.2 0.7 3.2 0.2 1.6 0.5 3.2 0.4 2.6

December

-0.2 1.5 -0.4 2.9 -1.4 2.2 -0.4 2.6 -0.9 2.7 -0.3 3.2

The February 2016 Consumer Price Index for the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose is scheduled to be released on March 16, 2016.


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 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 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA. metropolitan area covered in this release is comprised of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, and Solano Counties in the State of California.

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

San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group

 
Indexes
 
Percent change from-
Oct.
2015
Nov.
2015
Dec.
2015
Dec.
2014
Oct.
2015
Nov.
2015

Expenditure category

 
 

All items

261.019 - 260.289 3.2 -0.3 -

All items (1967=100)

802.446 - 800.202 - - -

Food and beverages

265.907 - 263.727 3.0 -0.8 -

Food

266.323 - 264.436 3.2 -0.7 -

Food at home

258.357 256.496 251.970 1.2 -2.5 -1.8

Food away from home

275.402 - 279.265 5.7 1.4 -

Alcoholic beverages

266.515 - 260.918 0.0 -2.1 -

Housing

297.542 - 298.672 5.5 0.4 -

Shelter

335.907 337.979 338.391 6.0 0.7 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

378.360 381.035 383.630 6.8 1.4 0.7

Owners' equiv. rent of residences (1) (2)

361.244 363.508 365.738 6.0 1.2 0.6

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

361.244 363.508 365.738 6.0 1.2 0.6

Fuels and utilities

354.684 - 340.555 2.1 -4.0 -

Household energy

309.512 288.829 289.207 -0.6 -6.6 0.1

Energy services (1)

309.859 288.868 289.345 -0.3 -6.6 0.2

Electricity (1)

322.259 304.880 304.880 0.9 -5.4 0.0

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

272.201 242.404 244.086 -3.8 -10.3 0.7

Household furnishings and operations

137.832 - 138.873 3.6 0.8 -

Apparel

118.560 - 113.135 1.4 -4.6 -

Transportation

183.669 - 180.339 -2.4 -1.8 -

Private transportation

172.792 - 170.299 -1.7 -1.4 -

Motor fuel

208.973 202.552 196.642 -9.0 -5.9 -2.9

Gasoline (all types)

208.157 201.714 195.812 -8.9 -5.9 -2.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

208.232 201.774 195.793 -8.9 -6.0 -3.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

193.511 187.352 182.039 -9.4 -5.9 -2.8

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

197.540 191.524 186.306 -8.1 -5.7 -2.7

Medical care

- - - - - -

Recreation (5)

114.199 - 113.507 1.9 -0.6 -

Education and communication (5)

144.057 - 144.793 2.3 0.5 -

Other goods and services

432.766 - 432.355 0.4 -0.1 -
 

Commodity and service group

 
 

All items

261.019 - 260.289 3.2 -0.3 -

Commodities

182.500 - 180.357 1.0 -1.2 -

Commodities less food & beverages

137.377 - 135.361 -0.6 -1.5 -

Nondurables less food & beverages

174.162 - 170.099 -1.1 -2.3 -

Durables

101.818 - 101.606 0.2 -0.2 -

Services

326.905 - 327.357 4.2 0.1 -
 

Special aggregate indexes

 
 

All items less medical care

252.457 - 251.577 3.2 -0.3 -

All items less shelter

231.302 - 229.121 1.4 -0.9 -

Commodities less food

142.915 - 140.763 -0.5 -1.5 -

Nondurables

221.069 - 217.860 1.2 -1.5 -

Nondurables less food

181.149 - 176.966 -1.0 -2.3 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

331.912 - 329.655 1.8 -0.7 -

Services less medical care services

317.847 - 318.195 4.3 0.1 -

Energy

249.002 237.169 233.545 -5.3 -6.2 -1.5

All items less energy

264.791 - 264.822 3.6 0.0 -

All items less food and energy

265.370 - 265.709 3.7 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) Index is on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(4) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(5) 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, January 20, 2016