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News Release Information

20-1577-PHI
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria – July 2020

Area prices up 0.6 percent since May, 0.8 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Arlington-Alexandria advanced 0.6 percent from May to July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due to increases in the energy index, up 7.5 percent, and the all items less food and energy index, up 0.4 percent; the food index decreased 0.3 percent over the month. (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 0.8 percent, due largely to a 0.9-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since July 2019, the food index also increased, up 3.6 percent, while the energy index decreased 8.7 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

Following a 2.7-percent increase from March to May, the food index declined 0.3 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home decreased 1.1 percent, while those for food away from home rose 0.6 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for carbonated drinks and uncooked beef steaks, while prices were higher for milk and citrus fruits, among others.

Food prices increased 3.6 percent over the year. Prices were higher for both food away from home (3.9 percent) and for food at home (3.4 percent) since July 2019.

Energy

Since May, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, advanced 7.5 percent, due almost entirely to higher prices for gasoline (12.0 percent). Prices were also higher for electricity (3.7 percent) and for utility (piped) gas service (6.2 percent) over the past two months.

Energy prices decreased 8.7 percent since July 2019, due to a drop in gasoline prices, down 17.8 percent. Over the year, prices also declined for electricity, down 1.4 percent, while prices were higher for utility (piped) gas service, up 6.1 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.4 percent since May. The advance was led by higher prices for motor vehicle insurance (25.2 percent) and new and used motor vehicles (2.3 percent) over the last two months. Lower prices for several categories, including recreation (-5.3 percent), moderated the decrease in the all items less food and energy index from May to July.

Since July 2019, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent. Prices were higher for shelter (2.4 percent) and medical care (7.1 percent), among others. Prices decreased for recreation (-5.9 percent) and apparel (-8.5 percent) since July 2019.

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 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
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 0.2 1.5 0.9 2.2 0.5 0.8 0.5 1.6

March

0.8 1.1 0.4 1.1 -0.1 1.8 0.7 1.6 -0.4 0.4

May

0.8 1.2 0.0 0.3 0.7 2.5 0.6 1.6 0.1 -0.1

July

-0.2 1.3 0.0 0.5 0.1 2.5 -0.3 1.2 0.6 0.8

September

-0.3 0.5 0.9 1.7 0.4 2.0 0.1 0.9

November

0.2 1.1 0.0 1.5 -0.7 1.3 -0.2 1.5

The Consumer Price Index for August 2020 is scheduled to be released on Friday, September 11, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on July 2020 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 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
May
2020
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020
Jul.
2019
May
2020
Jun.
2020

All items

265.733   267.287 0.8 0.6  

Food and beverages

262.716   260.635 3.0 -0.8  

Food

268.742   268.037 3.6 -0.3  

Food at home

258.490 255.967 255.629 3.4 -1.1 -0.1

Cereals and bakery products

331.780   335.828 3.6 1.2  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

288.337   286.655 8.0 -0.6  

Dairy and related products

248.392   250.465 5.3 0.8  

Fruits and vegetables

274.317   264.208 -3.6 -3.7  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

230.958   220.787 -1.4 -4.4  

Other food at home

209.750   209.735 6.4 0.0  

Food away from home

283.206   284.894 3.9 0.6  

Alcoholic beverages

204.642   191.843 -3.7 -6.3  

Housing

281.831   283.053 1.8 0.4  

Shelter

340.432 338.974 340.344 2.4 0.0 0.4

Rent of primary residence

376.139 377.257 378.325 3.4 0.6 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

347.301 347.867 349.222 2.7 0.6 0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

347.301 347.867 349.222 2.7 0.6 0.4

Fuels and utilities

235.985   243.811 0.8 3.3  

Household energy

182.153 190.874 189.831 0.5 4.2 -0.5

Energy services

186.651 195.896 194.872 0.7 4.4 -0.5

Electricity

206.758 217.560 214.326 -1.4 3.7 -1.5

Utility (piped) gas service

138.659 144.617 147.257 6.1 6.2 1.8

Household furnishings and operations

109.108   111.171 -1.3 1.9  

Apparel

145.728   143.903 -8.5 -1.3  

Transportation

199.491   210.230 -4.4 5.4  

Private transportation

200.810   213.036 -2.3 6.1  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

92.793   94.968 -0.3 2.3  

New vehicles(1)

193.697   195.712 0.5 1.0  

Used cars and trucks(1)

296.938   303.564 -0.5 2.2  

Motor fuel

185.973 198.696 207.955 -17.8 11.8 4.7

Gasoline (all types)

183.554 196.312 205.578 -17.8 12.0 4.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

177.454 190.077 199.234 -18.4 12.3 4.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

196.620 208.960 218.545 -13.1 11.2 4.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

209.387 221.698 230.634 -13.3 10.1 4.0

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

716.556   897.449 6.1 25.2  

Medical care

494.352   494.021 7.1 -0.1  

Recreation(3)

116.638   110.476 -5.9 -5.3  

Education and communication(3)

153.315   154.625 2.7 0.9  

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

1,408.013   1,414.752 2.0 0.5  

Other goods and services

421.483   431.885 3.0 2.5  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

178.880   180.172 -0.7 0.7  

Commodities less food and beverages

137.058   139.926 -3.6 2.1  

Nondurables less food and beverages

176.585   181.533 -6.0 2.8  

Durables

98.872   100.188 -0.8 1.3  

Services

345.058   346.798 1.7 0.5  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

235.921   238.006 0.0 0.9  

All items less medical care

254.935   256.577 0.3 0.6  

Commodities less food

140.240   142.307 -3.6 1.5  

Nondurables

219.595   220.728 -0.7 0.5  

Nondurables less food

179.438   182.291 -5.8 1.6  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

361.365   365.237 0.6 1.1  

Services less medical care services

329.913   331.857 0.7 0.6  

Energy

187.699 198.353 201.787 -8.7 7.5 1.7

All items less energy

274.879   275.627 1.4 0.3  

All items less food and energy

277.075   278.127 0.9 0.4  

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 12, 2020