Friday, April 17, 2015
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.)
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.
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.
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.
The Consumer Price Index for April 2015 is scheduled to be released Friday, May 22, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).
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.
|Expenditure category||Indexes||Percent change from|
All items (December 1977 = 100)
Food and beverages
Food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence (1)
Fuels and utilities
Energy services (1)
Utility (piped) gas service (1)
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles (3)
New cars (4)
Used cars and trucks
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)
Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)
Medical care commodities
Medical care services
Education and communication (3)
Other goods and services
Commodity and service group
Commodities less food and beverages
Nondurables less food and beverages
Special aggregate indexes
All items less shelter
All items less medical care
Commodities less food
Nondurables less food
Services less rent of shelter (2)
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy
Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.
Last Modified Date: Friday, April 17, 2015