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18-1017-PHI
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – May 2018

Area prices up 0.7 percent since March and 2.5 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria rose 0.7 percent from March to May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent advance was due largely to a 6.2-percent increase in the energy index. The all items less food and energy index and the food index also increased since March, up 0.2 and 0.8 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 2.5 percent, mainly reflecting a 2.3-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since May 2017, the energy index and the food index also increased, up 7.0 and 1.4 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

After a 0.1-percent decrease from January to March, the food index advanced 0.8 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home were up 1.2 percent and those for food away from home were 0.4 percent higher. Within the food at home component, prices rose since March for various items including spices, seasonings, condiments, and sauces; chicken; and lettuce.

Food prices increased 1.4 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both the food away from home and food at home components, up 1.4 and 1.3 percent, respectively, since May 2017.

 

Energy

Since March, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, advanced 6.2 percent, due mainly to a 10.7-percent increase in gasoline prices. Prices were also higher for utility (piped) gas service and electricity, up 5.3 and 0.4 percent, respectively, over the last two months.

Energy prices rose 7.0 percent over the year. The advance due almost entirely to an 18.4-percent increase in gasoline prices. Prices for electricity inched up 0.1 percent over the year, while prices for utility (piped) gas service declined 13.1 percent.

 

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.2 percent since March. Prices were higher for several categories including shelter (0.2 percent) and household furnishings and operations (1.7 percent); prices declined for several others including used cars and trucks (-1.1 percent) and medical care (-0.3 percent).

Since May 2017, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent. The advance was led by higher prices for shelter (2.2 percent); apparel (4.0 percent), household furnishings and operations (4.1 percent), and recreation (2.7 percent) were among the other indexes that had increases over the year.

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 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

0.2 1.7 -1.1 -0.2 -0.2 1.5 0.2 1.5 0.9 2.2

March

0.8 1.7 1.2 0.2 0.8 1.1 0.4 1.1 -0.1 1.8

May

0.3 2.0 0.7 0.6 0.8 1.2 0.0 0.3 0.7 2.5

July

0.0 1.7 -0.3 0.3 -0.2 1.3 0.0 0.5

September

0.1 1.1 0.6 0.7 -0.3 0.5 0.9 1.7

November

-0.3 1.1 -0.4 0.5 0.2 1.1 0.0 1.5

The Consumer Price Index for July 2018 is scheduled to be released on Friday, August 10, 2018, 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
Mar.
2018
Apr.
2018
May
2018
May
2017
Mar.
2018
Apr.
2018

All items

260.026   261.770 2.5 0.7  

Food and beverages

247.101   248.848 1.3 0.7  

Food

251.712   253.749 1.4 0.8  

Food at home

240.601 241.256 243.487 1.3 1.2 0.9

Cereals and bakery products

316.301   320.241   1.2  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

262.852   259.952   -1.1  

Dairy and related products

238.366   236.950   -0.6  

Fruits and vegetables

261.109   272.643   4.4  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

206.111   204.853   -0.6  

Other food at home

195.090   199.769   2.4  

Food away from home

266.695   267.640 1.4 0.4  

Alcoholic beverages

202.640   201.507 0.5 -0.6  

Housing

270.687   271.918 2.0 0.5  

Shelter

327.426 327.843 328.186 2.2 0.2 0.1

Rent of primary residence(2)

356.530 357.225 357.886 2.7 0.4 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)(3)

333.317 334.144 334.592 2.0 0.4 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)(3)

333.317 334.144 334.592 2.0 0.4 0.1

Fuels and utilities

227.149   229.869 -2.2 1.2  

Household energy

178.277 179.821 180.951 -3.0 1.5 0.6

Energy services(2)

182.453 184.196 185.412 -3.3 1.6 0.7

Electricity(2)

207.591 209.058 208.407 0.1 0.4 -0.3

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

125.857 128.006 132.585 -13.1 5.3 3.6

Household furnishings and operations

103.538   105.247 4.1 1.7  

Apparel

162.120   163.558 4.0 0.9  

Transportation

215.146   219.936 5.1 2.2  

Private transportation

212.255   218.387 5.7 2.9  

New and used motor vehicles(4)

93.649   93.354   -0.3  

New vehicles(1)

196.977   198.041   0.5  

Used cars and trucks(1)

299.073   295.915   -1.1  

Motor fuel

237.519 250.085 262.687 18.3 10.6 5.0

Gasoline (all types)

234.822 247.399 259.884 18.4 10.7 5.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular(5)

229.090 241.896 254.184 18.7 11.0 5.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(5)(6)

234.600 243.991 255.406 16.6 8.9 4.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium(5)

251.018 260.016 272.588 16.0 8.6 4.8

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

858.198   857.600   -0.1  

Medical care

453.974   452.584 1.3 -0.3  

Recreation(4)

114.923   114.574 2.7 -0.3  

Education and communication(4)

152.905   153.398 1.0 0.3  

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

1,382.840   1,383.049   0.0  

Other goods and services

404.319   406.817 1.9 0.6  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

179.236   181.680 2.8 1.4  

Commodities less food and beverages

144.497   147.121 3.8 1.8  

Nondurables less food and beverages

192.331   198.288 6.5 3.1  

Durables

100.599   100.727 0.4 0.1  

Services

333.198   334.141 2.2 0.3  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

232.901   235.018 2.6 0.9  

All items less medical care

250.862   252.762 2.6 0.8  

Commodities less food

147.189   149.691 3.6 1.7  

Nondurables

218.898   222.810 3.6 1.8  

Nondurables less food

193.039   198.433 6.0 2.8  

Services less rent of shelter(3)

350.863   352.057 2.1 0.3  

Services less medical care services

321.922   322.976 2.3 0.3  

Energy

208.115 214.692 221.053 7.0 6.2 3.0

All items less energy

267.334   268.202 2.2 0.3  

All items less food and energy

271.402   272.062 2.3 0.2  

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a November 1977=100 base.
(2) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(3) Indexes on a November 1982=100 base.
(4) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(5) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(6) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2018