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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
Month 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

0.2 1.5 0.9 2.2 0.5 0.8 0.5 1.6 0.7 1.5

March

0.4 1.1 -0.1 1.8 0.7 1.6 -0.4 0.4

May

0.0 0.3 0.7 2.5 0.6 1.6 0.1 -0.1

July

0.0 0.5 0.1 2.5 -0.3 1.2 0.6 0.8

September

0.9 1.7 0.4 2.0 0.1 0.9 0.6 1.2

November

0.0 1.5 -0.7 1.3 -0.2 1.5 0.0 1.4

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 category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021
Jan.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020

All items

268.700   270.535 1.5 0.7  

Food and beverages

262.122   264.780 4.0 1.0  

Food

269.260   271.960 4.6 1.0  

Food at home

250.267 251.340 253.094 3.0 1.1 0.7

Cereals and bakery products

328.988   325.930 3.9 -0.9  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

274.381   277.715 3.8 1.2  

Dairy and related products

240.846   241.934 2.6 0.5  

Fruits and vegetables

252.036   263.970 -2.8 4.7  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

216.482   221.859 2.9 2.5  

Other food at home

214.868   213.377 6.1 -0.7  

Food away from home

293.464   296.055 6.2 0.9  

Alcoholic beverages

195.339   197.556 -2.0 1.1  

Housing

283.762   285.565 1.5 0.6  

Shelter

343.341 342.296 344.056 1.7 0.2 0.5

Rent of primary residence

378.448 377.920 378.504 1.5 0.0 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

352.172 351.755 351.958 2.0 -0.1 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

352.172 351.755 351.958 2.0 -0.1 0.1

Fuels and utilities

232.302   233.361 -2.2 0.5  

Household energy

177.647 175.166 177.923 -4.1 0.2 1.6

Energy services

181.918 179.142 181.943 -4.3 0.0 1.6

Electricity

201.702 202.360 203.559 -4.3 0.9 0.6

Utility (piped) gas service

134.841 126.734 131.896 -4.2 -2.2 4.1

Household furnishings and operations

110.238   114.780 3.0 4.1  

Apparel

148.295   147.564 -5.8 -0.5  

Transportation

210.196   211.250 -2.1 0.5  

Private transportation

211.772   213.801 -0.7 1.0  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

97.236   96.789 3.8 -0.5  

New vehicles(1)

193.141   195.243 -0.3 1.1  

Used cars and trucks(1)

327.541   320.978 9.7 -2.0  

Motor fuel

208.588 213.133 225.091 -5.9 7.9 5.6

Gasoline (all types)

206.155 210.584 222.390 -5.9 7.9 5.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

199.945 204.496 216.086 -6.1 8.1 5.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

219.730 224.406 236.658 -1.2 7.7 5.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

229.896 232.707 244.759 -4.2 6.5 5.2

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

820.365   818.891 -6.5 -0.2  

Medical care

496.340   498.887 6.8 0.5  

Recreation(3)

112.653   114.838 -1.0 1.9  

Education and communication(3)

156.041   156.292 2.4 0.2  

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

1,437.088   1,437.884 2.1 0.1  

Other goods and services

434.781   438.703 3.5 0.9  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

181.281   183.861 1.8 1.4  

Commodities less food and beverages

140.842   143.352 0.1 1.8  

Nondurables less food and beverages

182.117   187.368 -1.8 2.9  

Durables

101.208   101.807 2.2 0.6  

Services

348.454   349.311 1.4 0.2  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

238.858   241.041 1.5 0.9  

All items less medical care

257.947   259.748 1.1 0.7  

Commodities less food

143.353   145.844 -0.1 1.7  

Nondurables

221.783   225.573 1.7 1.7  

Nondurables less food

183.216   188.097 -1.9 2.7  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

365.598   366.794 1.0 0.3  

Services less medical care services

333.513   333.942 0.5 0.1  

Energy

194.942 195.476 202.311 -5.0 3.8 3.5

All items less energy

277.608   279.104 1.9 0.5  

All items less food and energy

280.272   281.522 1.3 0.4  

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