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News Release Information

20-1577-PHI
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

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

Area prices up 0.6 percent since May, 0.8 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria advanced 0.6 percent from May to July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due to increases in the energy index, up 7.5 percent, and the all items less food and energy index, up 0.4 percent; the food index decreased 0.3 percent over the month. (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 increased 0.8 percent, due largely to a 0.9-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since July 2019, the food index also increased, up 3.6 percent, while the energy index decreased 8.7 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 2.7-percent increase from March to May, the food index declined 0.3 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home decreased 1.1 percent, while those for food away from home rose 0.6 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for carbonated drinks and uncooked beef steaks, while prices were higher for milk and citrus fruits, among others.

Food prices increased 3.6 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both food away from home (3.9 percent) and for food at home (3.4 percent) since July 2019.

Energy

Since May, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, advanced 7.5 percent, due almost entirely to higher prices for gasoline (12.0 percent). Prices were also higher for electricity (3.7 percent) and for utility (piped) gas service (6.2 percent) over the past two months.

Energy prices decreased 8.7 percent since July 2019, due to a drop in gasoline prices, down 17.8 percent. Over the year, prices also declined for electricity, down 1.4 percent, while prices were higher for utility (piped) gas service, up 6.1 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.4 percent since May. The advance was led by higher prices for motor vehicle insurance (25.2 percent) and new and used motor vehicles (2.3 percent) over the last two months. Lower prices for several categories, including recreation (-5.3 percent), moderated the decrease in the all items less food and energy index from May to July.

Since July 2019, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent. Prices were higher for shelter (2.4 percent) and medical care (7.1 percent), among others. Prices decreased for recreation (-5.9 percent) and apparel (-8.5 percent) since July 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

-0.21.30.00.50.12.5-0.31.20.60.8

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 August 2020 is scheduled to be released on Friday, September 11, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on July 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 July 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
May
2020
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020
Jul.
2019
May
2020
Jun.
2020

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0
265.733 267.2870.80.6 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF
262.716 260.6353.0-0.8 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF1
268.742 268.0373.6-0.3 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF11
258.490255.967255.6293.4-1.1-0.1

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF111
331.780 335.8283.61.2 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF112
288.337 286.6558.0-0.6 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFJ
248.392 250.4655.30.8 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF113
274.317 264.208-3.6-3.7 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF114
230.958 220.787-1.4-4.4 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF115
209.750 209.7356.40.0 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFV
283.206 284.8943.90.6 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF116
204.642 191.843-3.7-6.3 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH
281.831 283.0531.80.4 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH1
340.432338.974340.3442.40.00.4

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHA
376.139377.257378.3253.40.60.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC
347.301347.867349.2222.70.60.4

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC01
347.301347.867349.2222.70.60.4

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH2
235.985 243.8110.83.3 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH21
182.153190.874189.8310.54.2-0.5

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF
186.651195.896194.8720.74.4-0.5

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF01
206.758217.560214.326-1.43.7-1.5

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF02
138.659144.617147.2576.16.21.8

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH3
109.108 111.171-1.31.9 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAA
145.728 143.903-8.5-1.3 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT
199.491 210.230-4.45.4 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT1
200.810 213.036-2.36.1 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA
92.793 94.968-0.32.3 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA01
193.697 195.7120.51.0 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA02
296.938 303.564-0.52.2 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB
185.973198.696207.955-17.811.84.7

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB01
183.554196.312205.578-17.812.04.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47014
177.454190.077199.234-18.412.34.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47015
196.620208.960218.545-13.111.24.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47016
209.387221.698230.634-13.310.14.0

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETE
716.556 897.4496.125.2 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAM
494.352 494.0217.1-0.1 

Recreation(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAR
116.638 110.476-5.9-5.3 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAE
153.315 154.6252.70.9 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEEB
1,408.013 1,414.7522.00.5 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAG
421.483 431.8853.02.5 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAC
178.880 180.172-0.70.7 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL11
137.058 139.926-3.62.1 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL11
176.585 181.533-6.02.8 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAD
98.872 100.188-0.81.3 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAS
345.058 346.7981.70.5 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L2
235.921 238.0060.00.9 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L5
254.935 256.5770.30.6 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL1
140.240 142.307-3.61.5 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAN
219.595 220.728-0.70.5 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL1
179.438 182.291-5.81.6 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL2RS
361.365 365.2370.61.1 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL5
329.913 331.8570.70.6 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0E
187.699198.353201.787-8.77.51.7

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0LE
274.879 275.6271.40.3 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L1E
277.075 278.1270.90.4 

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, August 12, 2020