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News Release Information

15-700-PHI
Friday, April 17, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Northeast Region – March 2015

Area prices up 0.3 percent over the month; down 0.4 percent over the year

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

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.

Energy

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.

All items less food and energy

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.

 

Table A. Northeast region CPI-U 1-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month20112012201320142015
1-month12-month1-month12-month1-month12-month1-month12-month1-month12-month

January

0.41.60.42.90.31.80.61.5-0.2-0.4

February

0.52.00.42.80.62.00.11.00.2-0.2

March

0.82.50.52.50.01.50.51.50.3-0.4

April

0.52.80.32.3-0.11.10.01.6  

May

0.53.2-0.11.70.01.20.42.0  

June

0.13.4-0.21.50.11.50.01.9  

July

0.23.6-0.11.10.21.80.11.8  

August

0.33.80.51.30.21.5-0.31.3  

September

0.14.00.51.70.11.10.01.2  

October

-0.13.60.11.9-0.40.7-0.21.4  

November

-0.13.2-0.21.80.11.0-0.40.9  

December

-0.32.9-0.31.80.01.3-0.50.4  

The Consumer Price Index for April 2015 is scheduled to be released Friday, May 22, 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 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.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Northeast Region, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure categoryIndexesPercent change from
 
Historical
data
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015
Mar.
2014
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015

All items

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250.016250.619251.451-0.40.60.3

All items (December 1977 = 100)

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393.699394.648395.958   
 

Food and beverages

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250.774250.897250.6582.10.0-0.1

Food

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250.847250.917250.7112.2-0.1-0.1

Food at home

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248.942248.881248.3852.1-0.2-0.2

Food away from home

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256.799257.064257.2872.30.20.1

Alcoholic beverages

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248.652249.447248.7851.10.1-0.3
 

Housing

Jump to page with historical data
263.363264.049264.0400.80.30.0

Shelter

Jump to page with historical data
320.295321.074321.9952.20.50.3

Rent of primary residence (1)

Jump to page with historical data
321.124321.961322.5382.70.40.2

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

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332.339332.996333.1171.90.20.0

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

Jump to page with historical data
332.166332.815332.9291.90.20.0

Fuels and utilities

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225.280226.898220.864-6.8-2.0-2.7

Household energy

Jump to page with historical data
203.231204.961198.476-8.3-2.3-3.2

Energy services (1)

Jump to page with historical data
201.727203.334193.794-5.0-3.9-4.7

Electricity (1)

Jump to page with historical data
210.584214.691203.688-0.4-3.3-5.1

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

Jump to page with historical data
169.493165.164159.589-16.5-5.8-3.4

Household furnishings and operations

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123.219122.954124.224-0.70.81.0
 

Apparel

Jump to page with historical data
127.778131.201133.8102.24.72.0
 

Transportation

Jump to page with historical data
195.235195.156198.706-8.91.81.8

Private transportation

Jump to page with historical data
187.107186.628190.545-9.71.82.1

New and used motor vehicles (3)

Jump to page with historical data
97.01997.38498.195-0.21.20.8

New vehicles

Jump to page with historical data
144.923145.396145.2980.60.3-0.1

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

Jump to page with historical data
100.409100.757100.6710.60.3-0.1

New cars (4)

Jump to page with historical data
138.324138.743138.3210.30.0-0.3

Used cars and trucks

Jump to page with historical data
148.559150.518154.140-1.23.82.4

Motor fuel

Jump to page with historical data
196.553192.644206.834-31.35.27.4

Gasoline (all types)

Jump to page with historical data
195.288191.458205.554-31.35.37.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

Jump to page with historical data
193.172189.577204.223-32.05.77.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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208.492203.032215.109-29.53.25.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

Jump to page with historical data
202.677197.472208.923-28.13.15.8
 

Medical care

Jump to page with historical data
462.132465.554466.2183.30.90.1

Medical care commodities

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374.814379.834378.8473.81.1-0.3

Medical care services

Jump to page with historical data
486.233489.058490.2843.10.80.3

Professional services

Jump to page with historical data
358.844360.957361.8333.10.80.2
 

Recreation (3)

Jump to page with historical data
119.495120.103120.624-0.10.90.4
 

Education and communication (3)

Jump to page with historical data
138.118137.904137.7290.1-0.3-0.1
 

Other goods and services

Jump to page with historical data
448.803444.710445.0921.5-0.80.1
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

Jump to page with historical data
185.655186.174188.161-3.71.31.1

Commodities less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
150.020150.688153.552-7.42.41.9

Nondurables less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
187.409188.497193.647-10.63.32.7

Durables

Jump to page with historical data
106.389106.641107.300-1.80.90.6

Services

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312.501313.190312.9891.50.2-0.1
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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226.115226.657227.463-1.70.60.4

All items less medical care

Jump to page with historical data
240.691241.177242.013-0.70.50.3

Commodities less food

Jump to page with historical data
153.606154.280157.049-7.02.21.8

Nondurables

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218.962219.602222.240-4.21.51.2

Nondurables less food

Jump to page with historical data
190.977192.046196.843-9.83.12.5

Services less rent of shelter (2)

Jump to page with historical data
315.145315.746314.2780.8-0.3-0.5

Services less medical care services

Jump to page with historical data
300.447301.003300.7171.40.1-0.1

Energy

Jump to page with historical data
200.653200.035202.160-19.70.81.1

All items less energy

Jump to page with historical data
257.555258.290258.9961.60.60.3

All items less food and energy

Jump to page with historical data
260.414261.272262.1451.50.70.3

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) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

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

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 17, 2015