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News Release Information

21-1502-PHI
Wednesday, August 11, 2021

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

Area prices up 1.2 percent since May, 4.4 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria increased 1.2 percent from May to July, 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 continuing higher prices for new and used motor vehicles, reflected in an increase in the all items less food and energy index, up 0.8 percent. The energy index and the food index also increased since May, up 5.9 and 1.5 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 4.4 percent, the largest year-over-year increase since 2008. The rise was due mostly to a 3.6-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since July 2020, the energy index and the food index also increased, up 22.2 and 3.2 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 0.4-percent increase from March to May, the food index advanced 1.5 percent over the last 2 months. Prices for food at home increased 1.6 percent, and those for food away from home rose 1.3 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for the spices, seasonings, condiments, sauces index, among others, while prices were lower for several categories including carbonated drinks and citrus fruits.

Food prices advanced 3.2 percent over the year. Prices continued to be higher for food away from home (6.3 percent)⸺the category’s over-the-year increases ranged from 4.6 to 6.5 percent since last summer, while they inched up for food at home (0.1 percent) since July 2020.

Energy

Since May, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 5.9 percent, reflecting higher prices for electricity (9.7 percent), the largest such increase in 6 years. Prices were also higher for gasoline (3.0 percent⸺the smallest such increase this year) and utility (piped) gas (8.7 percent) over the past 2 months.

Energy prices jumped 22.2 percent since July 2020. The rise was due almost entirely to higher gasoline prices, up 39.5 percent but well below its 51.7 percent peak in May. Over the year, prices also increased for utility (piped) gas service, up 20.6 percent, and for electricity, up 3.0 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.8 percent since May. The advance was led by higher prices for new and used motor vehicles (7.4 percent), dominated by higher prices for used cars and trucks (11.9 percent). Prices were also higher for shelter (0.4 percent), led by owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.7 percent). Apparel prices were down 4.3 percent, helping to offset the overall increase.

Since July 2020, the index for all items less food and energy rose 3.6 percent. Prices were higher for new and used motor vehicles (21.6 percent), due mostly to prices for used cars and trucks (41.9 percent). Prices also increased for shelter (1.3 percent) and recreation (7.3 percent) since July 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

0.00.30.72.50.61.60.1-0.11.33.8

July

0.00.50.12.5-0.31.20.60.81.24.4

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 August 2021 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on July 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 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 (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
May
2021
Jun.
2021
Jul.
2021
Jul.
2020
May
2021
Jun.
2021

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0
275.822 279.0994.41.2 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF
265.739 269.2413.31.3 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF1
272.558 276.6113.21.5 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF11
251.776256.650255.9280.11.6-0.3

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF111
321.989 332.785-0.93.4 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF112
281.234 287.9300.42.4 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFJ
246.835 243.100-2.9-1.5 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF113
263.719 266.0370.70.9 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF114
218.427 225.1322.03.1 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF115
207.585 210.2110.21.3 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEFV
298.792 302.7826.31.3 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAF116
201.312 200.3464.4-0.5 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH
286.413 289.3672.21.0 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH1
343.512344.241344.8511.30.40.2

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHA
376.500377.357376.998-0.40.1-0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC
350.763352.846353.1491.10.70.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHC01
350.763352.846353.1491.10.70.1

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH2
244.459 262.8517.87.5 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH21
188.426201.418205.4628.29.02.0

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF
192.824206.598210.9358.29.42.1

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF01
201.235217.673220.7903.09.71.4

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEHF02
163.258171.579177.53120.68.73.5

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAH3
115.467 116.7235.01.1 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAA
156.839 150.0564.3-4.3 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT
230.898 238.84413.63.4 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAT1
235.825 246.44115.74.5 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA
107.464 115.43721.67.4 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA01
203.406 208.5716.62.5 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETA02
384.967 430.62341.911.9 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB
281.278286.390289.80239.43.01.2

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETB01
278.360283.402286.79639.53.01.2

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47014
271.977276.832280.27540.73.11.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47015
284.637290.898293.69234.43.21.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASS47016
296.172301.934304.59732.12.80.9

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASETE
822.360 822.360-8.40.0 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAM
497.740 498.5390.90.2 

Recreation(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAR
118.127 118.5057.30.3 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAE
157.126 157.6812.00.4 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASEEB
1,447.953 1,456.3452.90.6 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAG
442.296 454.8445.32.8 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAC
191.232 194.2597.81.6 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL11
153.658 156.42311.81.8 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL11
200.086 199.4259.9-0.3 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAD
109.578 114.11113.94.1 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAS
351.853 355.1762.40.9 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L2
248.215 252.0935.91.6 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L5
265.336 268.7294.71.3 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASACL1
155.798 158.36811.31.6 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASAN
231.839 233.4025.70.7 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASANL1
199.732 199.0369.2-0.3 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL2RS
373.014 378.6853.71.5 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASASL5
336.999 340.4932.61.0 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0E
232.988242.815246.66922.25.91.6

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0LE
282.789 285.4273.60.9 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ASA0L1E
285.861 288.2133.60.8 

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 11, 2021