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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
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 0.7 2.6

May

0.0 0.3 0.7 2.5 0.6 1.6 0.1 -0.1 1.3 3.8

July

0.0 0.5 0.1 2.5 -0.3 1.2 0.6 0.8 1.2 4.4

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 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 category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
May
2021
Jun.
2021
Jul.
2021
Jul.
2020
May
2021
Jun.
2021

All items

275.822   279.099 4.4 1.2  

Food and beverages

265.739   269.241 3.3 1.3  

Food

272.558   276.611 3.2 1.5  

Food at home

251.776 256.650 255.928 0.1 1.6 -0.3

Cereals and bakery products

321.989   332.785 -0.9 3.4  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

281.234   287.930 0.4 2.4  

Dairy and related products

246.835   243.100 -2.9 -1.5  

Fruits and vegetables

263.719   266.037 0.7 0.9  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

218.427   225.132 2.0 3.1  

Other food at home

207.585   210.211 0.2 1.3  

Food away from home

298.792   302.782 6.3 1.3  

Alcoholic beverages

201.312   200.346 4.4 -0.5  

Housing

286.413   289.367 2.2 1.0  

Shelter

343.512 344.241 344.851 1.3 0.4 0.2

Rent of primary residence

376.500 377.357 376.998 -0.4 0.1 -0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

350.763 352.846 353.149 1.1 0.7 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

350.763 352.846 353.149 1.1 0.7 0.1

Fuels and utilities

244.459   262.851 7.8 7.5  

Household energy

188.426 201.418 205.462 8.2 9.0 2.0

Energy services

192.824 206.598 210.935 8.2 9.4 2.1

Electricity

201.235 217.673 220.790 3.0 9.7 1.4

Utility (piped) gas service

163.258 171.579 177.531 20.6 8.7 3.5

Household furnishings and operations

115.467   116.723 5.0 1.1  

Apparel

156.839   150.056 4.3 -4.3  

Transportation

230.898   238.844 13.6 3.4  

Private transportation

235.825   246.441 15.7 4.5  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

107.464   115.437 21.6 7.4  

New vehicles(1)

203.406   208.571 6.6 2.5  

Used cars and trucks(1)

384.967   430.623 41.9 11.9  

Motor fuel

281.278 286.390 289.802 39.4 3.0 1.2

Gasoline (all types)

278.360 283.402 286.796 39.5 3.0 1.2

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

271.977 276.832 280.275 40.7 3.1 1.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

284.637 290.898 293.692 34.4 3.2 1.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

296.172 301.934 304.597 32.1 2.8 0.9

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

822.360   822.360 -8.4 0.0  

Medical care

497.740   498.539 0.9 0.2  

Recreation(3)

118.127   118.505 7.3 0.3  

Education and communication(3)

157.126   157.681 2.0 0.4  

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

1,447.953   1,456.345 2.9 0.6  

Other goods and services

442.296   454.844 5.3 2.8  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

191.232   194.259 7.8 1.6  

Commodities less food and beverages

153.658   156.423 11.8 1.8  

Nondurables less food and beverages

200.086   199.425 9.9 -0.3  

Durables

109.578   114.111 13.9 4.1  

Services

351.853   355.176 2.4 0.9  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

248.215   252.093 5.9 1.6  

All items less medical care

265.336   268.729 4.7 1.3  

Commodities less food

155.798   158.368 11.3 1.6  

Nondurables

231.839   233.402 5.7 0.7  

Nondurables less food

199.732   199.036 9.2 -0.3  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

373.014   378.685 3.7 1.5  

Services less medical care services

336.999   340.493 2.6 1.0  

Energy

232.988 242.815 246.669 22.2 5.9 1.6

All items less energy

282.789   285.427 3.6 0.9  

All items less food and energy

285.861   288.213 3.6 0.8  

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