Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

News Release Information

20-616-PHI
Friday, April 10, 2020

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:

Consumer Price Index, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – March 2020

Area prices down 0.4 percent since January, up 0.4 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria declined 0.4 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 to declines in the all items less food and energy index (-0.3 percent) and energy index (-4.9 percent). The food index increased since January, up 0.7 percent. (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 0.4 percent, due largely to a 0.5-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since March 2019, the food index also advanced, up 1.4 percent, while the energy index declined 3.9 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 0.4-percent increase from November to January, the food index advanced 0.7 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home increased 0.8 percent, and those for food away from home rose 0.6 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for uncooked beef steaks, citrus fruits, and eggs, while prices were lower for rice, pasta, cornmeal, among others.

Food prices increased 1.4 percent over the year. Prices were higher for food away from home (2.8 percent), and those for food at home inched up 0.1 percent since March 2019.

Energy

Since January, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 4.9 percent, due mostly to lower prices for gasoline (-8.4 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (-7.3 percent). Prices were higher for electricity (0.4 percent) over the past two months.

Energy prices decreased 3.9 percent since March 2019, due to lower prices for gasoline, down 6.3 percent. Over the year, prices also declined for utility (piped) gas (-8.3 percent), while electricity prices rose 0.7 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy decreased 0.3 percent since January. The decline was led by lower prices for shelter (-0.4 percent) and household furnishings and operations (-1.7 percent) over the last two months. Increased prices for several categories, including new and used motor vehicles (0.8 percent), moderated the decrease in the all items less food and energy index from January to March.

Since March 2019, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.5 percent. Prices were higher for shelter (1.2 percent) and education and communication (2.9 percent), among others. Prices decreased for apparel (-5.2 percent) and recreation (-2.6 percent) since March 2019.

Table A. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month20162017201820192020
2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month

January

-0.21.50.21.50.92.20.50.80.51.6

March

0.81.10.41.1-0.11.80.71.6-0.40.4

May

0.81.20.00.30.72.50.61.6

July

-0.21.30.00.50.12.5-0.31.2

September

-0.30.50.91.70.42.00.10.9

November

0.21.10.01.5-0.71.3-0.21.5

The Consumer Price Index for May 2020 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on March 2020 Consumer Price Index Data

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.


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.
2020
Feb.
2020
Mar.
2020
Mar.
2019
Jan.
2020
Feb.
2020

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0
266.433 265.3850.4-0.4 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF
254.624 255.9831.20.5 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF1
260.038 261.8021.40.7 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF11
245.792250.351247.6730.10.8-1.1

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF111
313.834 298.796-7.6-4.8 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF112
267.455 279.8057.44.6 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFJ
235.751 245.9256.24.3 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF113
271.505 262.300-5.6-3.4 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF114
215.619 215.465-0.6-0.1 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF115
201.073 204.270-0.31.6 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFV
278.852 280.5062.80.6 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF116
201.676 199.806-1.5-0.9 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH
281.319 279.5410.8-0.6 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH1
338.393338.262336.9031.2-0.4-0.4

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHA
372.756373.658373.8122.90.30.0

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC
345.226345.850345.7972.10.20.0

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC01
345.226345.850345.7972.10.20.0

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH2
238.722 235.829-0.3-1.2 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH21
185.516182.604182.672-1.6-1.50.0

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF
190.046186.710186.709-1.9-1.80.0

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF01
212.708211.953213.6530.70.40.8

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF02
137.635130.396127.643-8.3-7.3-2.1

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH3
111.397 109.537-1.2-1.7 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAA
156.581 158.328-5.21.1 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT
215.812 211.419-1.4-2.0 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT1
215.271 213.440-0.1-0.9 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA
93.224 94.007-0.90.8 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA01
195.813 195.231-2.3-0.3 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA02
292.626 302.3290.73.3 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB
239.133227.031219.235-6.3-8.3-3.4

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB01
236.395224.309216.592-6.3-8.4-3.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47014
230.246218.153210.387-6.6-8.6-3.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47015
239.566226.687219.867-7.1-8.2-3.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47016
255.575245.968239.926-3.6-6.1-2.5

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETE
876.170 897.4496.12.4 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAM
467.222 466.5172.3-0.2 

Recreation(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAR
116.019 116.268-2.60.2 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAE
152.560 152.8982.90.2 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEEB
1,407.834 1,407.8343.30.0 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAG
424.054 427.3902.60.8 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAC
180.522 180.294-0.8-0.1 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL11
143.273 142.299-2.2-0.7 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL11
190.872 187.904-2.8-1.6 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAD
99.582 99.909-1.70.3 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAS
344.641 342.7381.1-0.6 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L2
237.539 236.6580.0-0.4 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L5
256.943 255.8780.3-0.4 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL1
145.978 144.960-2.2-0.7 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAN
221.759 221.139-0.5-0.3 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL1
191.665 188.833-2.6-1.5 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL2RS
363.262 360.3790.8-0.8 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL5
332.442 330.3420.8-0.6 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0E
212.881205.894202.529-3.9-4.9-1.6

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0LE
273.970 273.5220.7-0.2 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L1E
277.780 276.8720.5-0.3 

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: Friday, April 10, 2020