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21-679-PHI
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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

Area prices up 0.7 percent since January, 2.6 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria increased 0.7 percent from January to March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Alexandra Hall Bovee, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due largely to an increase in the energy index, up 10.3 percent. The all items less food and energy index also increased since January, up 0.3 percent, while the food index edged down 0.2 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 increased 2.6 percent, due mostly to a 2.0-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since March 2020, the food index and the energy index also increased, up 3.7 and 10.2 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 1.0-percent rise from November to January, the food index decreased 0.2 percent over the last 2 months. Prices for food away from home declined 0.9 percent, and those for food at home increased 0.5 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for carbonated drinks and citrus fruits, as well as uncooked beef steaks, while prices were lower for milk, among others.

Food prices increased 3.7 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both food away from home (4.6 percent) and for food at home (2.7 percent) since March 2020.

Energy

Since January, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 10.3 percent, due largely to higher prices for gasoline (17.5 percent). Prices were also higher for utility (piped) gas (14.7 percent), while those for electricity were lower (-0.5 percent) over the past 2 months.

Energy prices advanced 10.2 percent since March 2020, due largely to a rise in gasoline prices, up 20.7 percent. Over the year, prices also increased for utility (piped) gas service, up 18.5 percent, while those for electricity decreased, down 5.2 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.3 percent since January. The advance was led by higher prices for recreation (2.6 percent) and shelter (0.2 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.4 percent) over the last 2 months. Prices were also higher for new and used motor vehicles (1.0 percent) and other goods and services (0.7 percent).

Since March 2020, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.0 percent. Prices were higher for shelter (2.4 percent) and medical care (6.9 percent), among others. Prices decreased for apparel (-6.5 percent) since March 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

0.41.1-0.11.80.71.6-0.40.40.72.6

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 May 2021 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on March 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 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 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 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 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
Jan.
2021
Feb.
2021
Mar.
2021
Mar.
2020
Jan.
2021
Feb.
2021

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0
270.535 272.3472.60.7 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF
264.780 264.4503.3-0.1 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF1
271.960 271.4083.7-0.2 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF11
253.094257.674254.4002.70.5-1.3

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF111
325.930 326.5759.30.2 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF112
277.715 281.4380.61.3 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFJ
241.934 247.6900.72.4 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF113
263.970 263.3870.4-0.2 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF114
221.859 223.0933.50.6 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF115
213.377 212.5714.1-0.4 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFV
296.055 293.4284.6-0.9 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF116
197.556 198.978-0.40.7 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH
285.565 286.5932.50.4 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH1
344.056344.499344.8382.40.20.1

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHA
378.504378.324378.2411.2-0.10.0

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC
351.958353.178353.3122.20.40.0

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC01
351.958353.178353.3122.20.40.0

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH2
233.361 239.7751.72.7 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH21
177.923177.896184.2060.83.53.5

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF
181.943181.770188.9251.23.83.9

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF01
203.559202.048202.504-5.2-0.50.2

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF02
131.896133.904151.31218.514.713.0

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH3
114.780 114.4164.5-0.3 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAA
147.564 148.062-6.50.3 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT
211.250 216.2252.32.4 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT1
213.801 221.9834.03.8 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA
96.789 97.7494.01.0 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA01
195.243 193.573-0.8-0.9 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA02
320.978 329.1048.92.5 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB
225.091235.814264.35320.617.412.1

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB01
222.390233.033261.37920.717.512.2

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47014
216.086227.131255.36921.418.212.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47015
236.658243.221267.61521.713.110.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47016
244.759251.548278.16315.913.610.6

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETE
818.891 808.251-9.9-1.3 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAM
498.887 498.5796.9-0.1 

Recreation(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAR
114.838 117.8651.42.6 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAE
156.292 156.7182.50.3 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEEB
1,437.884 1,441.8372.40.3 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAG
438.703 441.9633.40.7 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAC
183.861 185.6733.01.0 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL11
143.352 146.1532.72.0 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL11
187.368 193.5693.03.3 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAD
101.807 102.2702.40.5 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAS
349.311 350.9932.40.5 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L2
241.041 243.1732.80.9 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L5
259.748 261.6602.30.7 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL1
145.844 148.5702.51.9 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAN
225.573 228.2043.21.2 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL1
188.097 193.7212.63.0 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL2RS
366.794 369.6302.60.8 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL5
333.942 335.8541.70.6 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0E
202.311206.977223.13010.210.37.8

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0LE
279.104 279.6852.30.2 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L1E
281.522 282.3412.00.3 

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: Tuesday, April 13, 2021