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15-61-SAN
January 16, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Seattle area – December 2014

Area prices were down 1.1 percent over the past two months, up 1.7 percent from a year ago

Prices in the greater Seattle Area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), declined 1.1 percent for the two months ending December 2014, 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, electricity, and apparel. (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 rose 1.7 percent. (See chart 1.) Energy prices fell 12.3 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.6 percent since December 2013.

 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Seattle, December 2011-December 2014

 

Food

Food prices rose 0.7 percent from October to December. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home advanced 1.0 percent, and prices for food away from home increased 0.3 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices rose 3.7 percent. Prices for food at home moved up 4.8 percent since a year ago, and prices for food away from home increased 2.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index fell 13.7 percent for the two months ending in December 2014. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-16.4 percent). Prices for electricity fell 12.2 percent, but prices for natural gas service increased 2.3 percent since October.

Energy prices fell 12.3 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-13.8 percent). Prices paid for electricity fell 12.0 percent, but prices for natural gas service advanced 1.6 percent percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy decreased 0.3 percent in the latest two month period. Lower prices for apparel (-7.9 percent) and education and communication (-1.3 percent) were partially offset by higher prices for household furnishings and operations (1.3 percent), medical care (1.0 percent), and shelter (0.6 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.6 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (5.1 percent) and household furnishings and operations (4.4 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were price declines in apparel (-5.8 percent), other goods and services (-0.6 percent), and education and communication (-0.2 percent).

Table A. Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton CPI-U bi-monthly and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual

February

1.0 1.4 0.2 0.6 1.2 1.5 0.4 2.7 0.8 1.8 0.7 1.2

April

0.5 1.2 0.2 0.3 0.8 2.1 0.9 2.9 0.4 1.2 1.6 2.4

June

0.6 -0.4 -0.2 -0.5 0.8 3.2 0.7 2.7 0.8 1.4 0.4 2.0

August

-0.1 -0.3 0.7 0.2 0.2 2.7 0.3 2.7 0.0 1.1 -0.2 1.8

October

-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.4 0.9 3.8 0.5 2.3 0.0 0.6 0.3 2.1

December

-0.3 1.4 -0.2 0.6 -0.5 3.5 -1.4 1.4 -0.7 1.3 -1.1 1.7

 

CPI-W

In December, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 240.726, down 1.5 percent from October. The CPI-W increased 1.1 percent over the year.

The February 2015 Consumer Price Index for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton is scheduled to be released on March 24, 2015.


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 Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, WA. metropolitan area covered in this release is comprised of Island, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston Counties in the State of Washington.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods

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

 
Indexes
 
Percent change from-
Oct.
2014
Nov.
2014
Dec.
2014
Dec.
2013
Oct.
2014
Nov.
2014

Expenditure category

 
 

All items

247.854 - 245.050 1.7 -1.1 -

All items (1967=100)

755.556 - 747.006 - - -

Food and beverages

255.312 - 256.888 3.6 0.6 -

Food

258.088 - 260.002 3.7 0.7 -

Food at home

247.891 247.449 250.476 4.8 1.0 1.2

Food away from home

274.364 - 275.267 2.2 0.3 -

Alcoholic beverages

222.233 - 220.470 1.9 -0.8 -

Housing

265.316 - 265.492 4.0 0.1 -

Shelter

295.754 296.160 297.672 5.1 0.6 0.5

Rent of primary residence (1)

299.349 301.599 302.513 5.9 1.1 0.3

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

309.846 311.308 312.048 4.6 0.7 0.2

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

309.846 311.308 312.048 4.6 0.7 0.2

Fuels and utilities

242.516 - 227.770 -5.2 -6.1 -

Household energy

222.046 222.780 201.426 -9.9 -9.3 -9.6

Energy services (1)

260.811 261.878 235.581 -9.6 -9.7 -10.0

Electricity (1)

273.320 273.320 239.922 -12.0 -12.2 -12.2

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

181.431 185.675 185.675 1.6 2.3 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

176.461 - 178.728 4.4 1.3 -

Apparel

131.034 - 120.679 -5.8 -7.9 -

Transportation

225.988 - 211.835 -3.8 -6.3 -

Private transportation

234.493 - 219.653 -5.1 -6.3 -

Motor fuel

369.406 326.961 309.086 -13.8 -16.3 -5.5

Gasoline (all types)

376.308 332.546 314.530 -13.8 -16.4 -5.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

413.707 364.293 344.465 -14.0 -16.7 -5.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

289.853 258.381 244.783 -13.1 -15.5 -5.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

329.894 294.369 278.317 -13.4 -15.6 -5.5

Medical care

379.975 - 383.781 0.6 1.0 -

Recreation (5)

96.519 - 96.168 2.1 -0.4 -

Education and communication (5)

139.337 - 137.582 -0.2 -1.3 -

Other goods and services

400.244 - 397.107 -0.6 -0.8 -
 

Commodity and service group

 
 

All items

247.854 - 245.050 1.7 -1.1 -

Commodities

194.579 - 189.795 -1.0 -2.5 -

Commodities less food & beverages

163.971 - 156.464 -4.1 -4.6 -

Nondurables less food & beverages

198.004 - 184.208 -6.0 -7.0 -

Durables

129.225 - 127.952 -1.2 -1.0 -

Services

297.855 - 296.774 3.2 -0.4 -
 

Special aggregate indexes

 
 

All items less medical care

241.886 - 238.764 1.7 -1.3 -

All items less shelter

230.188 - 225.368 -0.2 -2.1 -

Commodities less food

166.491 - 159.202 -3.8 -4.4 -

Nondurables

225.673 - 219.095 -0.9 -2.9 -

Nondurables less food

200.261 - 187.360 -5.3 -6.4 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

308.030 - 303.136 0.9 -1.6 -

Services less medical care services

289.029 - 287.833 3.5 -0.4 -

Energy

302.738 281.543 261.401 -12.3 -13.7 -7.2

All items less energy

247.131 - 246.720 2.7 -0.2 -

All items less food and energy

245.515 - 244.719 2.6 -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) Index is on a November 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: Friday, January 16, 2015