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News Release Information

19-657-PHI
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – March 2019

Area prices up 0.7 percent since January, 1.6 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria increased 0.7 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 increase was due mostly to a 0.5-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index and the food index also increased since January, up 4.7 and 0.5 percent, respectively. (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 1.6 percent, primarily reflecting a 1.5-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since March 2018, the food index and the energy index also advanced, up 2.6 and 1.2 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

After a 1.6-percent increase from November to January, the food index rose 0.5 percent over the last two months. Prices for food away from home were up 0.8 percent, and those for food at home edged up 0.3 percent since January. Within the food at home component, higher prices for items such fresh fish and seafood and bread were moderated by lower prices for carbonated drinks and frozen and freeze dried prepared foods.

Food prices increased 2.6 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both food at home (2.9 percent) and food away from home (2.3 percent) since March 2018.

Energy

Since January, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, advanced 4.7 percent, due mainly to an 8.3-percent increase in gasoline prices. Prices were also higher for electricity (1.9 percent), and unchanged for utility (piped) gas service over the past two months.

Energy prices rose 1.2 percent since March 2018. Increases in both utility (piped) gas service prices (10.6 percent) and electricity prices (2.2 percent) were moderated by lower prices for gasoline (-1.5 percent).

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.5 percent since January. An increase in prices for shelter (0.6 percent), particularly those for lodging away from home, led the increase in the all items less food and energy index. Prices were also higher for medical care (1.0 percent) and household furnishings and operations (1.2 percent), among others.

Since March 2018, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.5 percent. The advance was led by higher prices for shelter (1.7 percent); household furnishings and operations (7.1 percent) and recreation (3.9 percent) were among the other indexes that had increases over the year. Education and communication prices were down 2.8 percent since March 2018.

Table A. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month20152016201720182019
2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month

January

-1.1-0.2-0.21.50.21.50.92.20.50.8

March

1.20.20.81.10.41.1-0.11.80.71.6

May

0.70.60.81.20.00.30.72.5

July

-0.30.3-0.21.30.00.50.12.5

September

0.60.7-0.30.50.91.70.42.0

November

-0.40.50.21.10.01.5-0.71.3

The Consumer Price Index for May 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 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.
2019
Feb.
2019
Mar.
2019
Mar.
2018
Jan.
2019
Feb.
2019

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0
262.304 264.2571.60.7 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF
252.121 253.0712.40.4 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF1
256.943 258.2602.60.5 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF11
246.786246.758247.4622.90.30.3

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF111
323.874 323.4832.3-0.1 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF112
261.827 260.408-0.9-0.5 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFJ
237.199 231.555-2.9-2.4 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF113
269.271 277.8736.43.2 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF114
225.757 216.8715.2-3.9 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF115
200.629 204.9595.12.2 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFV
270.709 272.8552.30.8 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF116
205.579 202.8780.1-1.3 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH
275.197 277.2362.40.7 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH1
330.803330.329332.8811.70.60.8

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHA
362.750361.862363.4421.90.20.4

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC
338.359338.017338.7281.60.10.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC01
338.359338.017338.7281.60.10.2

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH2
233.631 236.6204.21.3 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH21
183.262184.905185.7054.21.30.4

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF
187.667189.382190.3364.31.40.5

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF01
208.230209.554212.2592.21.91.3

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF02
139.178141.513139.19710.60.0-1.6

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH3
109.574 110.8717.11.2 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAA
169.674 167.0263.0-1.6 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT
209.645 214.389-0.42.3 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT1
208.973 213.5770.62.2 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA
94.272 94.8921.30.7 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA01
200.675 199.8361.5-0.4 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA02
296.017 300.1660.41.4 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB
216.226217.007234.003-1.58.27.8

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB01
213.410214.232231.203-1.58.37.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47014
207.311208.157225.222-1.78.68.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47015
221.012222.146236.6220.97.16.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47016
235.045235.369248.990-0.85.95.8

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETE
845.825 845.825-1.40.0 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAM
451.511 456.2330.51.0 

Recreation(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAR
119.440 119.3883.90.0 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAE
149.002 148.590-2.8-0.3 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEEB
1,359.223 1,362.448-1.50.2 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAG
411.709 416.6593.11.2 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAC
180.758 181.7471.40.5 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL11
144.544 145.5090.70.7 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL11
190.720 193.2400.51.3 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAD
101.787 101.6071.0-0.2 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAS
336.168 339.0411.80.9 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L2
234.744 236.6411.60.8 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L5
253.376 255.1961.70.7 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL1
147.339 148.1780.70.6 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAN
220.507 222.2641.50.8 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL1
191.788 193.8950.41.1 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL2RS
353.458 357.4101.91.1 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL5
325.128 327.6691.80.8 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0E
201.242202.520210.6921.24.74.0

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0LE
270.373 271.7491.70.5 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L1E
274.058 275.4511.50.5 

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a November 1977=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a November 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.

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2019