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18-579-PHI
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – March 2018

Area prices down 0.1 percent since January; up 1.8 percent over the year

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.)

Food

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.

Energy

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.

All items less food and energy

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.

Table A. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month20142015201620172018
2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month

January

0.21.7-1.1-0.2-0.21.50.21.50.92.2

March

0.81.71.20.20.81.10.41.1-0.11.8

May

0.32.00.70.60.81.20.00.3

July

0.01.7-0.30.3-0.21.30.00.5

September

0.11.10.60.7-0.30.50.91.7

November

-0.31.1-0.40.50.21.10.01.5

The Consumer Price Index for May 2018 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).


Technical Note

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.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure categoryIndexesPercent change from
Historical
data
Jan.
2018
Feb.
2018
Mar.
2018
Mar.
2017
Jan.
2018
Feb.
2018

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0
260.219 260.0261.8-0.1 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF
247.174 247.1011.60.0 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF1
251.896 251.7121.6-0.1 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF11
240.404239.713240.6010.50.10.4

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF111
316.057 316.301 0.1 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF112
255.860 262.852 2.7 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFJ
238.316 238.366 0.0 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF113
268.441 261.109 -2.7 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF114
203.682 206.111 1.2 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF115
196.129 195.090 -0.5 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFV
267.370 266.6952.8-0.3 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF116
201.600 202.6400.80.5 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH
270.548 270.6871.60.1 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH1
326.513326.815327.4261.90.30.2

Rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHA
357.181357.092356.5302.8-0.2-0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC
333.814333.776333.3171.7-0.1-0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC01
333.814333.776333.3171.7-0.1-0.1

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH2
230.398 227.149-1.2-1.4 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH21
181.471184.213178.277-1.7-1.8-3.2

Energy services(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF
185.896188.678182.453-1.9-1.9-3.3

Electricity(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF01
209.977210.918207.5910.3-1.1-1.6

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF02
131.044137.052125.857-8.7-4.0-8.2

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH3
104.145 103.5382.1-0.6 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAA
164.464 162.1205.5-1.4 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT
212.173 215.1462.21.4 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT1
211.267 212.2551.90.5 

New and used motor vehicles(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA
92.400 93.649 1.4 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA01
198.215 196.977 -0.6 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA02
290.881 299.073 2.8 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB
237.532238.858237.5199.50.0-0.6

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB01
234.870236.164234.8229.50.0-0.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47014
229.443230.815229.0909.6-0.2-0.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(5)(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47015
233.174231.803234.6009.30.61.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47016
248.424249.467251.0188.51.00.6

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETE
866.413 858.198 -0.9 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAM
449.867 453.9742.10.9 

Recreation(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAR
119.283 114.9233.7-3.7 

Education and communication(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAE
155.486 152.905-1.2-1.7 

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEEB
1,376.457 1,382.840 0.5 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAG
404.909 404.3191.1-0.1 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAC
179.373 179.2361.4-0.1 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL11
144.653 144.4971.4-0.1 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL11
192.921 192.3314.6-0.3 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAD
100.445 100.599-1.90.2 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAS
333.440 333.1981.9-0.1 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L2
233.520 232.9011.8-0.3 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L5
251.266 250.8621.8-0.2 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL1
147.303 147.1891.4-0.1 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAN
219.237 218.8982.9-0.2 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL1
193.500 193.0394.3-0.2 

Services less rent of shelter(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL2RS
352.585 350.8631.9-0.5 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL5
322.420 321.9221.9-0.2 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0E
209.916212.060208.1153.4-0.9-1.9

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0LE
267.400 267.3341.70.0 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L1E
271.447 271.4021.70.0 

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a November 1977=100 base.
(2) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(3) Indexes on a November 1982=100 base.
(4) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(5) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(6) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

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

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018