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18-579-PHI
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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

Area prices down 0.1 percent since January; up 1.8 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria inched down 0.1 percent from January to March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent decrease was due largely to a 0.9-percent decline in the energy index. The food index also decreased, down 0.1 percent since January, while the all items less food and energy index was unchanged. (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 1.8 percent, mainly reflecting a 1.7-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since March 2017, the food index and energy index also increased, up 1.6 and 3.4 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index inched down 0.1 percent over the last two months. Prices for food away from home declined 0.3 percent, while prices for food at home were 0.1 percent higher. Within the food at home component, prices rose since January for various items including chicken and lettuce.

Food prices increased 1.6 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both the food away from home and food at home components, up 2.8 and 0.5 percent, respectively, since last March.

Energy

Since January, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 0.9 percent, due to lower prices for utility (piped) gas service and electricity, down 4.0 and 1.1 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, gasoline prices were unchanged over the last two months.

Energy prices rose 3.4 percent over the year. The advance due almost entirely to a 9.5-percent increase in gasoline prices. Prices for electricity edged up 0.3 percent over the year, while prices utility (piped) gas service declined 8.7 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged since January. Prices were lower in several categories including recreation (-3.7 percent), education and communication (-1.7 percent), and apparel (-1.4 percent); prices rose for several others including shelter (0.3 percent) and medical care (0.9 percent).

Since March 2017, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent. The advance was led by higher prices for shelter (1.9 percent); the indexes for apparel (5.5 percent) and recreation (3.7 percent) were among the other indexes that had increases. Meanwhile, prices for education and communication declined 1.2 percent 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

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 May 2018 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, June 12, 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
Jan.
2018
Feb.
2018
Mar.
2018
Mar.
2017
Jan.
2018
Feb.
2018

All items

260.219   260.026 1.8 -0.1  

Food and beverages

247.174   247.101 1.6 0.0  

Food

251.896   251.712 1.6 -0.1  

Food at home

240.404 239.713 240.601 0.5 0.1 0.4

Cereals and bakery products

316.057   316.301   0.1  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

255.860   262.852   2.7  

Dairy and related products

238.316   238.366   0.0  

Fruits and vegetables

268.441   261.109   -2.7  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

203.682   206.111   1.2  

Other food at home

196.129   195.090   -0.5  

Food away from home

267.370   266.695 2.8 -0.3  

Alcoholic beverages

201.600   202.640 0.8 0.5  

Housing

270.548   270.687 1.6 0.1  

Shelter

326.513 326.815 327.426 1.9 0.3 0.2

Rent of primary residence(2)

357.181 357.092 356.530 2.8 -0.2 -0.2

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

333.814 333.776 333.317 1.7 -0.1 -0.1

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

333.814 333.776 333.317 1.7 -0.1 -0.1

Fuels and utilities

230.398   227.149 -1.2 -1.4  

Household energy

181.471 184.213 178.277 -1.7 -1.8 -3.2

Energy services(2)

185.896 188.678 182.453 -1.9 -1.9 -3.3

Electricity(2)

209.977 210.918 207.591 0.3 -1.1 -1.6

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

131.044 137.052 125.857 -8.7 -4.0 -8.2

Household furnishings and operations

104.145   103.538 2.1 -0.6  

Apparel

164.464   162.120 5.5 -1.4  

Transportation

212.173   215.146 2.2 1.4  

Private transportation

211.267   212.255 1.9 0.5  

New and used motor vehicles(4)

92.400   93.649   1.4  

New vehicles(1)

198.215   196.977   -0.6  

Used cars and trucks(1)

290.881   299.073   2.8  

Motor fuel

237.532 238.858 237.519 9.5 0.0 -0.6

Gasoline (all types)

234.870 236.164 234.822 9.5 0.0 -0.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(5)

229.443 230.815 229.090 9.6 -0.2 -0.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(5)(6)

233.174 231.803 234.600 9.3 0.6 1.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium(5)

248.424 249.467 251.018 8.5 1.0 0.6

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

866.413   858.198   -0.9  

Medical care

449.867   453.974 2.1 0.9  

Recreation(4)

119.283   114.923 3.7 -3.7  

Education and communication(4)

155.486   152.905 -1.2 -1.7  

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

1,376.457   1,382.840   0.5  

Other goods and services

404.909   404.319 1.1 -0.1  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

179.373   179.236 1.4 -0.1  

Commodities less food and beverages

144.653   144.497 1.4 -0.1  

Nondurables less food and beverages

192.921   192.331 4.6 -0.3  

Durables

100.445   100.599 -1.9 0.2  

Services

333.440   333.198 1.9 -0.1  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

233.520   232.901 1.8 -0.3  

All items less medical care

251.266   250.862 1.8 -0.2  

Commodities less food

147.303   147.189 1.4 -0.1  

Nondurables

219.237   218.898 2.9 -0.2  

Nondurables less food

193.500   193.039 4.3 -0.2  

Services less rent of shelter(3)

352.585   350.863 1.9 -0.5  

Services less medical care services

322.420   321.922 1.9 -0.2  

Energy

209.916 212.060 208.115 3.4 -0.9 -1.9

All items less energy

267.400   267.334 1.7 0.0  

All items less food and energy

271.447   271.402 1.7 0.0  

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: Wednesday, April 11, 2018