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20-1223-PHI
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

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

Area prices up 0.1 percent since March, down 0.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria inched up 0.1 percent from March to May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due almost entirely to an advance in the food index, up 2.7 percent. The all items less food and energy index also increased since March, up 0.1 percent, while the energy index decreased 7.3 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 declined 0.1 percent, due to a 15.8-percent drop in the energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since May 2019, the food index and all items less food and energy index both increased, up 3.3 and 0.3 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 0.7-percent increase from January to March, the food index advanced 2.7 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home increased 4.4 percent, and those for food away from home rose 1.0 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for fresh fish and seafood, uncooked beef steaks, and apples, while prices were lower for cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, among others.

Food prices increased 3.3 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both food at home (3.3 percent) and for food away from home (3.6 percent) since May 2019.

Energy

Since March, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 7.3 percent, due almost entirely to lower prices for gasoline (-15.3 percent). Prices were also lower for electricity (-3.2 percent), while they were higher for utility (piped) gas service (8.6 percent) over the past two months.

Energy prices decreased 15.8 percent since May 2019, due to a drop in gasoline prices, down 29.1 percent. Over the year, prices also declined for both electricity and utility (piped) gas service, down 1.6 percent each.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent since March. The advance was led by higher prices for medical care (6.0 percent) and shelter (1.0 percent) over the last two months. Lower prices for several categories, including apparel (-8.0 percent), moderated the decrease in the all items less food and energy index from March to May.

Since May 2019, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent. Prices were higher for shelter (2.2 percent) and medical care (8.1 percent), among others. Prices decreased for apparel (-14.5 percent) and new and used motor vehicles (-2.2 percent) since May 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

0.81.20.00.30.72.50.61.60.1-0.1

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 July 2020 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

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

Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in May 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 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/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.htm


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
Mar.
2020
Apr.
2020
May
2020
May
2019
Mar.
2020
Apr.
2020

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0
265.385 265.733-0.10.1 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF
255.983 262.7163.22.6 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF1
261.802 268.7423.32.7 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF11
247.673253.587258.4903.34.41.9

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF111
298.796 331.7802.611.0 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF112
279.805 288.3376.03.0 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFJ
245.925 248.3926.71.0 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF113
262.300 274.317-3.04.6 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF114
215.465 230.9587.07.2 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF115
204.270 209.7503.02.7 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFV
280.506 283.2063.61.0 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF116
199.806 204.6421.32.4 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH
279.541 281.8311.70.8 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH1
336.903339.083340.4322.21.00.4

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHA
373.812374.170376.1393.10.60.5

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC
345.797346.608347.3012.30.40.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC01
345.797346.608347.3012.30.40.2

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH2
235.829 235.985-0.10.1 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH21
182.672184.156182.153-1.5-0.3-1.1

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF
186.709188.846186.651-1.50.0-1.2

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF01
213.653212.930206.758-1.6-3.2-2.9

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF02
127.643134.233138.659-1.68.63.3

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH3
109.537 109.108-0.9-0.4 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAA
158.328 145.728-14.5-8.0 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT
211.419 199.491-9.5-5.6 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT1
213.440 200.810-8.3-5.9 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA
94.007 92.793-2.2-1.3 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA01
195.231 193.697-2.5-0.8 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA02
302.329 296.938-0.3-1.8 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB
219.235190.963185.973-29.0-15.2-2.6

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB01
216.592188.432183.554-29.1-15.3-2.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47014
210.387182.036177.454-29.9-15.7-2.5

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47015
219.867203.999196.620-23.9-10.6-3.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47016
239.926215.806209.387-23.6-12.7-3.0

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETE
897.449 716.556-14.9-20.2 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAM
466.517 494.3528.16.0 

Recreation(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAR
116.268 116.638-1.40.3 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAE
152.898 153.3151.60.3 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEEB
1,407.834 1,408.0132.10.0 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAG
427.390 421.4830.9-1.4 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAC
180.294 178.880-3.1-0.8 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL11
142.299 137.058-7.8-3.7 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL11
187.904 176.585-12.1-6.0 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAD
99.909 98.872-2.5-1.0 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAS
342.738 345.0581.60.7 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L2
236.658 235.921-1.3-0.3 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L5
255.878 254.935-0.8-0.4 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL1
144.960 140.240-7.2-3.3 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAN
221.139 219.595-3.3-0.7 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL1
188.833 179.438-10.7-5.0 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL2RS
360.379 361.3650.80.3 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL5
330.342 329.9130.6-0.1 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0E
202.529191.050187.699-15.8-7.3-1.8

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0LE
273.522 274.8790.80.5 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L1E
276.872 277.0750.30.1 

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, June 10, 2020