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20-1955-PHI
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

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

Area prices up 0.6 percent since July, 1.2 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria advanced 0.6 percent from July to September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due to advances in the all items less food and energy index, up 0.5 percent, and the food index, up 1.3 percent; the energy index decreased 1.4 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 1.2 percent, due largely to a 5.3-percent rise in the food index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since September 2019, the all items less food and energy index also increased, up 0.9 percent, while the energy index decreased 6.1 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 0.3-percent decrease from May to July, the food index increased 1.3 percent over the last two months. Prices for food away from home increased 2.4 percent, and those for food at home rose 0.3 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for breakfast cereal and apples, while prices were lower for bread, eggs, and potatoes, among others.

Food prices increased 5.3 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both food away from home (6.5 percent) and for food at home (4.3 percent) since September 2019.

Energy

Since July, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 1.4 percent, due mainly to lower prices for utility (piped) gas service (-11.4 percent). Prices were also lower for electricity (-1.7 percent), while those for gasoline were higher (2.3 percent) over the past two months.

Energy prices decreased 6.1 percent since September 2019, due mostly to a drop in gasoline prices, down 9.5 percent. Over the year, prices also declined for electricity, down 5.2 percent, while prices were higher for utility (piped) gas service, up 4.9 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.5 percent since July. The advance was led by higher prices for apparel (7.0 percent) and shelter (0.5 percent) over the last two months. Lower prices for several categories, including motor vehicle insurance (-9.7 percent), moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index from July to September.

Since September 2019, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent. Prices were higher for medical care (7.6 percent) and shelter (1.7 percent), among others. Prices decreased for apparel (-7.7 percent) and recreation (-4.2 percent) since September 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

-0.30.50.91.70.42.00.10.90.61.2

November

0.21.10.01.5-0.71.3-0.21.5

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on September 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 September 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
Jul.
2020
Aug.
2020
Sep.
2020
Sep.
2019
Jul.
2020
Aug.
2020

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0
267.287 268.7881.20.6 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF
260.635 264.5184.81.5 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF1
268.037 271.6555.31.3 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF11
255.629254.210256.4724.30.30.9

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF111
335.828 330.6322.5-1.5 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF112
286.655 276.7373.2-3.5 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFJ
250.465 250.8783.40.2 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF113
264.208 267.089-1.91.1 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF114
220.787 222.3303.70.7 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF115
209.735 219.00112.04.4 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFV
284.894 291.6456.52.4 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF116
191.843 197.647-1.43.0 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH
283.053 283.8291.60.3 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH1
340.344342.122341.9441.70.5-0.1

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHA
378.325379.735380.0323.10.50.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC
349.222350.269350.7312.60.40.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC01
349.222350.269350.7312.60.40.1

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH2
243.811 236.399-1.6-3.0 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH21
189.831180.380181.675-2.9-4.30.7

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF
194.872184.780185.935-3.0-4.60.6

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF01
214.326212.347210.697-5.2-1.7-0.8

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF02
147.257124.863130.4664.9-11.44.5

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH3
111.171 112.5923.11.3 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAA
143.903 153.947-7.77.0 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT
210.230 208.563-3.1-0.8 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT1
213.036 212.133-0.2-0.4 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA
94.968 96.3803.71.5 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA01
195.712 192.4650.3-1.7 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA02
303.564 328.33410.68.2 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB
207.955209.330212.512-9.62.21.5

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB01
205.578206.942210.211-9.52.31.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47014
199.234200.581203.785-9.92.31.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47015
218.545221.244223.073-5.72.10.8

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47016
230.634231.726235.387-6.82.11.6

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETE
897.449 810.380-5.7-9.7 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAM
494.021 494.8797.60.2 

Recreation(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAR
110.476 111.468-4.20.9 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAE
154.625 155.9602.20.9 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEEB
1,414.752 1,436.7792.01.6 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAG
431.885 428.1642.8-0.9 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAC
180.172 182.9961.61.6 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL11
139.926 142.214-1.01.6 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL11
181.533 185.125-3.22.0 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAD
100.188 101.4521.51.3 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAS
346.798 346.6901.00.0 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L2
238.006 239.4481.00.6 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L5
256.577 258.1080.70.6 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL1
142.307 144.770-1.01.7 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAN
220.728 224.4181.61.7 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL1
182.291 186.133-3.02.1 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL2RS
365.237 363.1700.2-0.6 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL5
331.857 331.6610.1-0.1 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0E
201.787196.863199.010-6.1-1.41.1

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0LE
275.627 277.4341.60.7 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L1E
278.127 279.5640.90.5 

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: Tuesday, October 13, 2020