Wednesday, April 11, 2018
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria inched down 0.1 percent from January to March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent decrease was due largely to a 0.9-percent decline in the energy index. The food index also decreased, down 0.1 percent since January, while the all items less food and energy index was unchanged. (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 CPI-U advanced 1.8 percent, mainly reflecting a 1.7-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since March 2017, the food index and energy index also increased, up 1.6 and 3.4 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)
The food index inched down 0.1 percent over the last two months. Prices for food away from home declined 0.3 percent, while prices for food at home were 0.1 percent higher. Within the food at home component, prices rose since January for various items including chicken and lettuce.
Food prices increased 1.6 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both the food away from home and food at home components, up 2.8 and 0.5 percent, respectively, since last March.
Since January, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 0.9 percent, due to lower prices for utility (piped) gas service and electricity, down 4.0 and 1.1 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, gasoline prices were unchanged over the last two months.
Energy prices rose 3.4 percent over the year. The advance due almost entirely to a 9.5-percent increase in gasoline prices. Prices for electricity edged up 0.3 percent over the year, while prices utility (piped) gas service declined 8.7 percent.
The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged since January. Prices were lower in several categories including recreation (-3.7 percent), education and communication (-1.7 percent), and apparel (-1.4 percent); prices rose for several others including shelter (0.3 percent) and medical care (0.9 percent).
Since March 2017, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent. The advance was led by higher prices for shelter (1.9 percent); the indexes for apparel (5.5 percent) and recreation (3.7 percent) were among the other indexes that had increases. Meanwhile, prices for education and communication declined 1.2 percent over the year.
The Consumer Price Index for May 2018 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).
The Consumer Price Index for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria is published bi-monthly. 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 94 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 75 urban areas across the country from about 5,000 housing units and approximately 22,000 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/pdf/homch17.pdf.
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 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MA-WV, Core Based Statistical Area includes the District of Columbia; the counties of Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s in Maryland; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park and the counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren in Virginia; and the county of Jefferson in West Virginia.
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|
Food and beverages
Food at home
Cereals and bakery products
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Dairy and related products
Fruits and vegetables
Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)
Other food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence(2)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service(2)
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles(4)
Used cars and trucks(1)
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular(5)
Gasoline, unleaded premium(5)
Motor vehicle insurance(1)
Education and communication(4)
Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)
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(3)
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: Wednesday, April 11, 2018