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21-267-PHI
Wednesday, February 10, 2021

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – January 2021

Area prices up 0.7 percent since November, 1.5 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria increased 0.7 percent from November to January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Frank Waligorski, the Bureau’s acting regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due largely to an increase in the all items less food and energy index, up 0.4 percent. The energy index and the food index also increased, up 3.8 and 1.0 percent, respectively. (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 1.5 percent, due mostly to a 1.3-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since January 2020, the food index also increased, up 4.6 percent, while the energy index decreased 5.0 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 0.9-percent decrease from September to November, the food index increased 1.0 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home rose 1.1 percent, and those for food away from home increased 0.9 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for carbonated drinks, canned fruits and vegetables, as well as potatoes, while prices were lower for breakfast cereal and eggs, among others.

Food prices increased 4.6 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both food away from home (6.2 percent) and for food at home (3.0 percent) since January 2020.

Energy

Since November, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 3.8 percent, due almost entirely to higher prices for gasoline (7.9 percent). Prices were also higher for electricity (0.9 percent), while those for utility (piped) gas were lower (-2.2 percent) over the past two months.

Energy prices decreased 5.0 percent since January 2020, due largely to a drop in gasoline prices, down 5.9 percent. Over the year, prices also declined for electricity, down 4.3 percent, and for utility (piped) gas service, down 4.2 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.4 percent since November. The advance was led by higher prices for household furnishings and operations (4.1 percent) and recreation (1.9 percent) over the last two months. Lower prices for several categories, including new and used motor vehicles (-0.5 percent), moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index from November to January.

Since January 2020, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.3 percent. Prices were higher for shelter (1.7 percent) and medical care (6.8 percent), among others. Prices decreased for apparel (-5.8 percent) and recreation (-1.0 percent) since January 2020.

Table A. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month20172018201920202021
2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month

January

0.21.50.92.20.50.80.51.60.71.5

March

0.41.1-0.11.80.71.6-0.40.4

May

0.00.30.72.50.61.60.1-0.1

July

0.00.50.12.5-0.31.20.60.8

September

0.91.70.42.00.10.90.61.2

November

0.01.5-0.71.3-0.21.50.01.4

The Consumer Price Index for March 2021 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on January 2021 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 January 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 (CPI) is a measures 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 U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. 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 6,000 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; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000.  Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cpi/.

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 individuals with sensory impairments 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
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021
Jan.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0
268.700 270.5351.50.7 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF
262.122 264.7804.01.0 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF1
269.260 271.9604.61.0 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF11
250.267251.340253.0943.01.10.7

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF111
328.988 325.9303.9-0.9 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF112
274.381 277.7153.81.2 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFJ
240.846 241.9342.60.5 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF113
252.036 263.970-2.84.7 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF114
216.482 221.8592.92.5 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF115
214.868 213.3776.1-0.7 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFV
293.464 296.0556.20.9 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF116
195.339 197.556-2.01.1 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH
283.762 285.5651.50.6 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH1
343.341342.296344.0561.70.20.5

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHA
378.448377.920378.5041.50.00.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC
352.172351.755351.9582.0-0.10.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC01
352.172351.755351.9582.0-0.10.1

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH2
232.302 233.361-2.20.5 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH21
177.647175.166177.923-4.10.21.6

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF
181.918179.142181.943-4.30.01.6

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF01
201.702202.360203.559-4.30.90.6

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF02
134.841126.734131.896-4.2-2.24.1

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH3
110.238 114.7803.04.1 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAA
148.295 147.564-5.8-0.5 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT
210.196 211.250-2.10.5 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT1
211.772 213.801-0.71.0 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA
97.236 96.7893.8-0.5 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA01
193.141 195.243-0.31.1 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA02
327.541 320.9789.7-2.0 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB
208.588213.133225.091-5.97.95.6

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB01
206.155210.584222.390-5.97.95.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47014
199.945204.496216.086-6.18.15.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47015
219.730224.406236.658-1.27.75.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47016
229.896232.707244.759-4.26.55.2

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETE
820.365 818.891-6.5-0.2 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAM
496.340 498.8876.80.5 

Recreation(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAR
112.653 114.838-1.01.9 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAE
156.041 156.2922.40.2 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEEB
1,437.088 1,437.8842.10.1 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAG
434.781 438.7033.50.9 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAC
181.281 183.8611.81.4 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL11
140.842 143.3520.11.8 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL11
182.117 187.368-1.82.9 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAD
101.208 101.8072.20.6 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAS
348.454 349.3111.40.2 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L2
238.858 241.0411.50.9 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L5
257.947 259.7481.10.7 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL1
143.353 145.844-0.11.7 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAN
221.783 225.5731.71.7 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL1
183.216 188.097-1.92.7 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL2RS
365.598 366.7941.00.3 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL5
333.513 333.9420.50.1 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0E
194.942195.476202.311-5.03.83.5

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0LE
277.608 279.1041.90.5 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L1E
280.272 281.5221.30.4 

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, February 10, 2021