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20-298-PHI
Thursday, February 13, 2020

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

Area prices up 0.5 percent since November, 1.6 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria advanced 0.5 percent from November to January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due largely to a 0.5-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. The food index and energy index also increased since November, up 0.4 percent and 1.1 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 advanced 1.6 percent, reflecting a 1.4-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since January 2019, the energy index and food index also advanced, up 5.8 and 1.2 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 0.4-percent increase from September to November, the food index advanced 0.4 percent over the last two months. Prices for food away from home increased 0.7 percent, and those for food at home inched up 0.1 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for nonfrozen noncarbonated juices and drinks, carbonated drinks, and milk, while prices were lower for pork chops and apples, among others.

Food prices increased 1.2 percent over the year. Prices were higher for food away from home (3.0 percent), while those for food at home declined 0.4 percent since January 2019.

Energy

Since November, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, advanced 1.1 percent, due to higher prices for gasoline (1.6 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (4.3 percent). Prices were lower for electricity (-0.3 percent) over the past two months.

Energy prices increased 5.8 percent since January 2019, due to higher prices for gasoline, up 10.8 percent. Over the year, prices also rose for electricity (2.2 percent), while utility (piped) gas prices declined 1.1 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.5 percent since November. The advance was led by higher prices for shelter (0.7 percent) and household furnishings and operations (4.3 percent) over the last two months. Decreased prices for apparel (-2.9 percent), among others, moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index from November to January.

Since January 2019, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.4 percent. Prices were higher for shelter (2.3 percent) and medical care (3.5 percent), among others. Apparel prices decreased 7.7 percent since January 2019, the index’s largest 12-month decrease since March 2013.

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 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
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 0.2 1.5 0.9 2.2 0.5 0.8 0.5 1.6

March

0.8 1.1 0.4 1.1 -0.1 1.8 0.7 1.6

May

0.8 1.2 0.0 0.3 0.7 2.5 0.6 1.6

July

-0.2 1.3 0.0 0.5 0.1 2.5 -0.3 1.2

September

-0.3 0.5 0.9 1.7 0.4 2.0 0.1 0.9

November

0.2 1.1 0.0 1.5 -0.7 1.3 -0.2 1.5

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


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 category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Nov.
2019
Dec.
2019
Jan.
2020
Jan.
2019
Nov.
2019
Dec.
2019

All items

265.026   266.433 1.6 0.5  

Food and beverages

253.404   254.624 1.0 0.5  

Food

258.986   260.038 1.2 0.4  

Food at home

245.617 246.663 245.792 -0.4 0.1 -0.4

Cereals and bakery products

315.444   313.834 -3.1 -0.5  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

273.106   267.455 2.1 -2.1  

Dairy and related products

238.615   235.751 -0.6 -1.2  

Fruits and vegetables

265.779   271.505 0.8 2.2  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

211.466   215.619 -4.5 2.0  

Other food at home

199.914   201.073 0.2 0.6  

Food away from home

276.898   278.852 3.0 0.7  

Alcoholic beverages

199.279   201.676 -1.9 1.2  

Housing

278.349   281.319 2.2 1.1  

Shelter

336.001 336.350 338.393 2.3 0.7 0.6

Rent of primary residence

370.738 372.209 372.756 2.8 0.5 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

343.792 344.561 345.226 2.0 0.4 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

343.792 344.561 345.226 2.0 0.4 0.2

Fuels and utilities

237.468   238.722 2.2 0.5  

Household energy

184.283 184.176 185.516 1.2 0.7 0.7

Energy services

188.486 188.485 190.046 1.3 0.8 0.8

Electricity

213.401 210.641 212.708 2.2 -0.3 1.0

Utility (piped) gas service

131.956 137.023 137.635 -1.1 4.3 0.4

Household furnishings and operations

106.801   111.397 1.7 4.3  

Apparel

161.295   156.581 -7.7 -2.9  

Transportation

215.692   215.812 2.9 0.1  

Private transportation

214.574   215.271 3.0 0.3  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

92.831   93.224 -1.1 0.4  

New vehicles(1)

192.149   195.813 -2.4 1.9  

Used cars and trucks(1)

294.518   292.626 -1.1 -0.6  

Motor fuel

235.383 235.403 239.133 10.6 1.6 1.6

Gasoline (all types)

232.743 232.782 236.395 10.8 1.6 1.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

226.563 226.643 230.246 11.1 1.6 1.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

235.965 236.655 239.566 8.4 1.5 1.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

252.876 252.322 255.575 8.7 1.1 1.3

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

893.216   876.170 3.6 -1.9  

Medical care

463.621   467.222 3.5 0.8  

Recreation(3)

116.956   116.019 -2.9 -0.8  

Education and communication(3)

151.891   152.560 2.4 0.4  

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

1,409.296   1,407.834 3.6 -0.1  

Other goods and services

415.482   424.054 3.0 2.1  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

179.358   180.522 -0.1 0.6  

Commodities less food and beverages

142.120   143.273 -0.9 0.8  

Nondurables less food and beverages

190.076   190.872 0.1 0.4  

Durables

98.318   99.582 -2.2 1.3  

Services

343.063   344.641 2.5 0.5  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

236.498   237.539 1.2 0.4  

All items less medical care

255.640   256.943 1.4 0.5  

Commodities less food

144.767   145.978 -0.9 0.8  

Nondurables

220.798   221.759 0.6 0.4  

Nondurables less food

190.698   191.665 -0.1 0.5  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

362.662   363.262 2.8 0.2  

Services less medical care services

331.016   332.442 2.2 0.4  

Energy

210.520 210.469 212.881 5.8 1.1 1.1

All items less energy

272.603   273.970 1.3 0.5  

All items less food and energy

276.332   277.780 1.4 0.5  

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: Thursday, February 13, 2020