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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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

Area prices down 0.7 percent since September, up 1.3 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria decreased 0.7 percent from September to November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent decline was due almost entirely to a 0.8-percent decrease in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index also declined since September, down 1.4 percent, while the food index inched up 0.1 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 1.3 percent, primarily reflecting a 1.4-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since November 2017, the food index also advanced, up 0.8 percent, while the energy index was unchanged. (See table 1.)

Food

After a 0.2-percent increase from July to September, the food index inched up 0.1 percent over the last two months. Prices for food away from home were up 0.5 percent, while those for food at home were 0.3 percent lower. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for items such as carbonated drinks, uncooked beef steaks, and citrus fruits over the last two months.

Food prices increased 0.8 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both food away from home (1.5 percent) and food at home (0.1 percent) since November 2017.

Energy

Since September, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 1.4 percent, due mostly to a 6.9-percent decrease in gasoline prices. Prices also decreased for electricity (-5.9 percent). Meanwhile, prices for utility (piped) gas service were 75.8 percent higher.

Energy prices were unchanged since November 2017. Declines for both utility (piped) gas service prices (-13.3 percent) and electricity prices (-1.2 percent) were moderated by an increase in gasoline prices (3.7 percent).

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy decreased 0.8 percent since September. A seasonal decrease in apparel prices (-6.7 percent) and lower prices for shelter (-0.8 percent) led the decline in the all items less food and energy index. Prices were also lower for education and communication (-4.0 percent). Prices were higher in several categories, including new and used motor vehicles (1.3 percent) and medical care (1.0 percent), among others.

Since November 2017, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.4 percent. The advance was led by higher prices for shelter (1.5 percent); apparel (7.3 percent) and recreation (3.5 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 -0.7 1.3

The Consumer Price Index for January 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 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
Sep.
2018
Oct.
2018
Nov.
2018
Nov.
2017
Sep.
2018
Oct.
2018

All items

263.056   261.120 1.3 -0.7  

Food and beverages

248.062   248.224 0.9 0.1  

Food

252.779   252.996 0.8 0.1  

Food at home

240.627 242.282 239.973 0.1 -0.3 -1.0

Cereals and bakery products

314.023   316.939 -0.3 0.9  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

259.563   255.519 0.5 -1.6  

Dairy and related products

236.961   233.161 0.5 -1.6  

Fruits and vegetables

261.176   263.213 -3.1 0.8  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

199.162   204.193 0.8 2.5  

Other food at home

201.763   199.176 2.1 -1.3  

Food away from home

269.106   270.445 1.5 0.5  

Alcoholic beverages

202.540   202.159 2.1 -0.2  

Housing

273.218   272.186 1.1 -0.4  

Shelter

333.000 331.000 330.214 1.5 -0.8 -0.2

Rent of primary residence

360.382 360.902 361.400 1.9 0.3 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

337.187 337.319 337.752 1.7 0.2 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

337.187 337.319 337.752 1.7 0.2 0.1

Fuels and utilities

214.382   224.116 -2.6 4.5  

Household energy

164.618 176.787 173.765 -4.2 5.6 -1.7

Energy services

168.369 180.938 177.675 -4.3 5.5 -1.8

Electricity

219.205 218.632 206.331 -1.2 -5.9 -5.6

Utility (piped) gas service

65.352 101.354 114.885 -13.3 75.8 13.4

Household furnishings and operations

103.605   103.211 1.7 -0.4  

Apparel

177.968   165.956 7.3 -6.7  

Transportation

217.636   216.747 1.8 -0.4  

Private transportation

216.328   214.310 2.1 -0.9  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

92.749   93.968 1.4 1.3  

New vehicles(1)

197.043   196.752 0.1 -0.1  

Used cars and trucks(1)

288.395   294.430 2.4 2.1  

Motor fuel

261.727 262.519 244.078 3.8 -6.7 -7.0

Gasoline (all types)

258.900 259.606 241.155 3.7 -6.9 -7.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

253.169 253.788 235.161 3.7 -7.1 -7.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

255.897 257.301 243.624 5.0 -4.8 -5.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

271.674 272.929 258.124 3.7 -5.0 -5.4

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

852.769   862.279 0.3 1.1  

Medical care

445.882   450.290 0.4 1.0  

Recreation(3)

117.486   115.723 3.5 -1.5  

Education and communication(3)

156.267   150.041 -3.2 -4.0  

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

1,420.218   1,359.223 -0.9 -4.3  

Other goods and services

406.715   411.772 2.7 1.2  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

182.283   179.184 1.5 -1.7  

Commodities less food and beverages

148.259   143.972 1.9 -2.9  

Nondurables less food and beverages

202.839   193.781 3.8 -4.5  

Durables

99.424   98.751 -0.7 -0.7  

Services

336.083   335.439 1.2 -0.2  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

234.934   233.335 1.2 -0.7  

All items less medical care

254.443   252.192 1.3 -0.9  

Commodities less food

150.830   146.663 1.9 -2.8  

Nondurables

224.769   220.189 2.2 -2.0  

Nondurables less food

202.703   194.336 3.7 -4.1  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

350.405   352.510 0.8 0.6  

Services less medical care services

325.639   324.473 1.2 -0.4  

Energy

211.437 218.636 208.559 0.0 -1.4 -4.6

All items less energy

270.377   268.494 1.3 -0.7  

All items less food and energy

274.817   272.545 1.4 -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, December 12, 2018