Area prices up 0.9 percent over the past six months, up 2.1 percent from a year ago
Prices in the greater Portland area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), advanced 0.9 percent in the second half of 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted the latest six-month increase was influenced by higher prices for shelter and medical care. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect seasonal influences.)
Over the past 12 months, the CPI-U rose 2.1 percent. (See chart 1.) Energy prices declined 0.3 percent, mainly due to a decrease in the price of natural gas service. The index for all items less food and energy increased 2.5 percent over the year.
Food prices advanced 0.5 percent in the second half of 2012. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home and prices for food away from home both rose 0.5 percent for the same period.
For the year ending in the second half of 2012, food prices increased 1.6 percent. Prices for food at home rose 0.9 percent during the past 12 months, and prices for food away from home increased 2.4 percent.
The energy index decreased 2.9 percent since the first half of 2012. This decrease was strongly influenced by gasoline prices, which declined 4.1 percent. Also showing price decreases for the same period were natural gas service prices (-2.8 percent) and electricity prices (-0.1 percent).
Energy prices edged down 0.3 percent over the year, influenced by a 4.6 percent price decrease in natural gas service and a 0.8 percent decrease in electricity prices. An increase in gasoline prices (0.4 percent) partially offset the decline in energy prices for the year.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.4 percent from the first half of 2012 to the second half of 2012. Among the index components, increases were recorded for medical care (3.6 percent), apparel (2.9 percent), shelter (1.7 percent), and education and communication (1.5 percent). In contrast, lower prices were recorded for household furnishings and operations (-1.6 percent).
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.5 percent. Prices increased for apparel (7.7 percent), medical care (5.2 percent), shelter (3.1 percent), and recreation (2.1 percent). In contrast, lower prices were recorded for household furnishings and operations (-0.6 percent).
Table A. Portland CPI-U semi-annual and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
In the second half of 2012, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 225.389, up 0.7 percent. The CPI-W increased 1.8 percent over the year.
The first half of 2013 Consumer Price Index for Portland is scheduled to be released August 15, 2013.
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 88 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 29 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
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 Portland-Salem, OR-WA metropolitan area covered in this release is comprised of Clackamas, Columbia, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington, and Yamhill Counties in the State of Oregon and Clark County 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.