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18-1663-PHI
Thursday, October 11, 2018

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

Area prices up 0.4 percent since July and 2.0 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria increased 0.4 percent from July to September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent rise was due almost entirely to a 0.8-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. The food index also rose since July, up 0.2 percent, while the energy index declined 5.0 percent. (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 2.0 percent, primarily reflecting a 2.7-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since September 2017, the food index also advanced, up 0.5 percent, while the energy index declined 3.0 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

After a 0.6-percent decrease from May to July, the food index edged up 0.2 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home were up 0.3 percent, and those for food away from home were 0.2 percent higher. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for items such as citrus fruits, apples, and lettuce over the last two months.

Food prices increased 0.5 percent over the year. Prices were higher for food away from home (1.3 percent), while those for food at home were down 0.2 percent since September 2017.

Energy

Since July, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 5.0 percent, due to a 45.6-percent decrease in utility (piped) gas service prices. Prices also decreased for gasoline (-0.9 percent). Meanwhile, prices for electricity were 0.9 percent higher.

Energy prices decreased 3.0 percent since September 2017. Declines for both utility (piped) gas service prices (-51.4 percent) and electricity prices (-0.4 percent) were moderated by an increase in gasoline prices (5.8 percent).

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.8 percent since July. A seasonal increase in apparel prices (13.4 percent) and higher prices for shelter (1.1 percent) led the advance in the all items less food and energy index. Prices were lower for several categories including new and used motor vehicles (-2.5 percent) and household furnishings and operations (-2.2 percent).

Since September 2017, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.7 percent. The advance was led by higher prices for shelter (2.6 percent); apparel (7.5 percent) and recreation (5.2 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 0.1 2.5

September

0.1 1.1 0.6 0.7 -0.3 0.5 0.9 1.7 0.4 2.0

November

-0.3 1.1 -0.4 0.5 0.2 1.1 0.0 1.5

The Consumer Price Index for November 2018 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, December 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
Jul.
2018
Aug.
2018
Sep.
2018
Sep.
2017
Jul.
2018
Aug.
2018

All items

262.016   263.056 2.0 0.4  

Food and beverages

247.626   248.062 0.6 0.2  

Food

252.150   252.779 0.5 0.2  

Food at home

239.976 240.293 240.627 -0.2 0.3 0.1

Cereals and bakery products

319.019   314.023   -1.6  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

258.224   259.563   0.5  

Dairy and related products

236.186   236.961   0.3  

Fruits and vegetables

256.990   261.176   1.6  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

202.099   199.162   -1.5  

Other food at home

200.214   201.763   0.8  

Food away from home

268.502   269.106 1.3 0.2  

Alcoholic beverages

204.039   202.540 2.2 -0.7  

Housing

273.153   273.218 1.4 0.0  

Shelter

329.436 329.575 333.000 2.6 1.1 1.0

Rent of primary residence

359.621 360.318 360.382 2.5 0.2 0.0

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

336.761 337.216 337.187 2.0 0.1 0.0

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

336.761 337.216 337.187 2.0 0.1 0.0

Fuels and utilities

232.025   214.382 -9.6 -7.6  

Household energy

182.395 186.269 164.618 -12.6 -9.7 -11.6

Energy services

186.778 190.886 168.369 -13.2 -9.9 -11.8

Electricity

217.194 218.325 219.205 -0.4 0.9 0.4

Utility (piped) gas service

120.234 129.578 65.352 -51.4 -45.6 -49.6

Household furnishings and operations

105.929   103.605 1.6 -2.2  

Apparel

156.946   177.968 7.5 13.4  

Transportation

220.684   217.636 3.4 -1.4  

Private transportation

219.382   216.328 4.0 -1.4  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

95.113   92.749   -2.5  

New vehicles(1)

197.667   197.043   -0.3  

Used cars and trucks(1)

301.137   288.395   -4.2  

Motor fuel

263.976 263.053 261.727 5.8 -0.9 -0.5

Gasoline (all types)

261.170 260.238 258.900 5.8 -0.9 -0.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

255.274 254.449 253.169 5.9 -0.8 -0.5

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

258.437 257.037 255.897 5.4 -1.0 -0.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

275.104 273.412 271.674 5.0 -1.2 -0.6

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

857.600   852.769   -0.6  

Medical care

446.580   445.882 0.0 -0.2  

Recreation(3)

117.464   117.486 5.2 0.0  

Education and communication(3)

154.600   156.267 1.1 1.1  

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

1,404.995   1,420.218   1.1  

Other goods and services

407.724   406.715 1.5 -0.2  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

180.740   182.283 2.1 0.9  

Commodities less food and beverages

146.333   148.259 3.2 1.3  

Nondurables less food and beverages

195.494   202.839 4.3 3.8  

Durables

101.382   99.424 0.8 -1.9  

Services

335.612   336.083 1.9 0.1  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

234.875   234.934 1.7 0.0  

All items less medical care

253.317   254.443 2.2 0.4  

Commodities less food

149.017   150.830 3.1 1.2  

Nondurables

220.780   224.769 2.3 1.8  

Nondurables less food

196.061   202.703 4.1 3.4  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

353.882   350.405 1.1 -1.0  

Services less medical care services

325.100   325.639 2.2 0.2  

Energy

222.450 224.208 211.437 -3.0 -5.0 -5.7

All items less energy

268.359   270.377 2.4 0.8  

All items less food and energy

272.538   274.817 2.7 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: Thursday, October 11, 2018