Friday, April 10, 2020
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Northeast edged down 0.2 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent over-the-month decrease was due entirely to a 4.1-percent decline in the energy index. The food index increased from February to March, up 0.2 percent, 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 Northeast all items CPI-U increased 1.7 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) This was due largely to an advance in the all items less food and energy index, up 2.3 percent. The food index also rose, up 1.8, while the energy index declined 6.0 percent since March 2019. (See table 1.)
The food index edged up 0.2 percent since February. Prices were higher for both food at home and for food away from home, up 0.2 percent each.
From March 2019 to March 2020, the food index increased 1.8 percent. Prices for food away from home increased over the year, up 3.2 percent; those for food at home also rose, up 0.8 percent.
The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 4.1 percent in March, due largely to a 6.3-percent decline in gasoline prices. Prices were also lower for electricity (-1.0 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (-0.6 percent) over the month.
The energy index decreased 6.0 percent since March 2019. The decrease reflected lower prices for gasoline (-7.8 percent). Prices for utility (piped) gas service and electricity also decreased over the year, down 5.0 and 1.0 percent, respectively.
The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged over the month. Higher prices for shelter (0.3 percent) and recreation (0.9 percent), among others, were offset by lower prices for new vehicles (-0.6 percent) and education and communication (-0.1 percent).
The index for all items less food and energy increased 2.3 percent since March 2019, led by higher prices for shelter and medical care, up 2.6 and 5.3 percent, respectively. Prices also rose over the year for education and communication (3.0 percent), recreation (2.5 percent), and other goods and services (3.1 percent).
Additional price indexes are now available for the two divisions of the Northeast. Over the month, the all items CPI-U decreased 0.2 percent in both the New England division and Middle Atlantic division.
Over the year, the all items index advanced 1.5 percent in the New England division. (See table B.) Prices also rose in the Middle Atlantic division, up 1.8 percent.
|Area||1-month change||12-month change|
New England Division
Middle Atlantic Division
The Consumer Price Index for April 2020 is scheduled to be released Tuesday, May 12, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) program suspended data collection by personal visit on March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in March was affected by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the number of prices being considered temporarily unavailable and imputed. While the CPI program attempted to collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month. Additional information is available at www.bls.gov/bls/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-bls-price-indexes.htm#CPI.
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 93 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 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 Northeast region is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The New England division is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The Middle Atlantic division is comprised of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
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
Cereals and bakery products
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Dairy and related products
Fruits and vegetables
Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials
Other food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence
Owners' equivalent rent of residences(1)
Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(1)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles(2)
Used cars and trucks
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular(3)
Gasoline, unleaded premium(3)
Motor vehicle insurance(5)
Medical care commodities
Medical care services
Education and communication(2)
Tuition, other school fees, and child care(5)
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(1)
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy
Last Modified Date: Friday, April 10, 2020