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15-310-BOS
Thursday, February 26, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Brockton-Nashua - January 2015

Area prices down 0.7 percent over two months; edged up from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Brockton-Nashua area was down 0.7 percent in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that the two-month decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline, down 23.8 percent over two months. Higher prices paid by area consumers for food partially moderated this decrease. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bimonthly changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months the Boston CPI-U rose 0.6 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher shelter prices, up 3.0 percent. (See chart 1.)  Lower energy prices paid by area consumers, down 12.8 percent, partially offset the modest increase.

 

Food

Food prices were up 1.0 percent since November due to higher grocery store prices, also known as food at home, up 1.2 percent. Contributing to this rise, but to a lesser degree, food away from home, or restaurant prices, edged up 0.6 percent.

From January 2014 to January 2015 the index for food rose 1.7 percent mainly due to higher grocery store prices (+2.0 percent) and, to a lesser extent, higher restaurant prices (+1.1 percent).  

Energy

The energy index was down 9.6 percent over the two months, mainly due to gas price decreases. Area motorists paid $2.297 per gallon of gasoline in January. This decrease was partially offset by higher electricity prices, up 10.9 percent from November.  

Energy prices were down 12.8 percent from a year ago, attributable to lower gasoline prices, down 33.9 percent. Partially offsetting this decline was a 29.9-percent advance in local electricity prices. The January increase in local electricity prices was the largest since a 30.0-percent increase was recorded in April of 2006.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in January. Increases in the indexes for education and communication (+1.6 percent) and recreation (+1.0 percent) were offset by decreases in the prices paid for apparel (-2.4 percent). 

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.9 percent, with higher shelter costs, rising 3.0 percent from January 2014, being the main cause of this increase. This marked the 43rd consecutive annual increase in the local shelter index. Contributing to the over-the-year rise in the all items less food and energy index, prices for medical care were up 2.9 percent from January 2014.

CPI-W

In January, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 254.407. The CPI-W was down 0.6 percent over two months and rose 0.1 percent over the year.

The March 2015 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Brockton-Nashua is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 17, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).


Technical Note

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 89 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 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 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 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 change 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/homch17_a.htm.

In calculating the index, price changes for the various items in each location are averaged together withweights 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 Boston-Brockton-Nashua, Mass.-N.H.-Maine-Conn. consolidated area covered in this release is comprised of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk Counties and parts of Bristol, Hampden, and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts; parts of Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire; part of York County in Maine; and part of Windham County in Connecticut.

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.

 

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Boston-Brockton-Nashua, Ma.-N.H.-Maine-Conn., (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure categoryIndexesPercent change from
 
Historical
data
Nov.
2014
Dec.
2014
Jan.
2015
Jan.
2014
Nov.
2014
Dec.
2014

All items

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256.262 254.5560.6-0.7 

All items (1967 = 100)

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744.833 739.873   
 

Food and beverages

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252.097 254.4391.70.9 

Food

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252.201 254.7761.71.0 

Food at home

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243.441245.234246.4562.01.20.5

Food away from home

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266.552 268.2721.10.6 

Alcoholic beverages

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254.396 254.3652.00.0 
 

Housing

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255.285 256.1553.20.3 

Shelter

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295.641295.915295.7843.00.00.0

Rent of primary residence (1)

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305.536306.443307.3462.60.60.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1) (2) (3)

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314.572316.549317.1393.30.80.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2) (3)

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314.572316.549317.1393.30.80.2

Fuels and utilities

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280.444 285.5017.71.8 

Household energy

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240.231236.971245.1668.62.13.5

Energy services (1)

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240.049240.057255.33321.56.46.4

Electricity (1)

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250.453250.453277.76829.910.910.9

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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214.262214.284207.1575.0-3.3-3.3

Household furnishings and operations

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127.113 128.224-0.60.9 
 

Apparel

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148.429 144.8333.0-2.4 
 

Transportation

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198.617 182.833-11.3-7.9 

Private transportation

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195.175 180.855-11.9-7.3 

Motor fuel

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255.220235.814194.587-33.9-23.8-17.5

Gasoline (all types)

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252.153232.966192.176-33.9-23.8-17.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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246.919227.795187.036-35.1-24.3-17.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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265.428245.118204.163-31.4-23.1-16.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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256.425239.013200.324-29.6-21.9-16.2
 

Medical care

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597.061 598.8522.90.3 
 

Recreation (6)

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114.268 115.4641.41.0 
 

Education and communication (6)

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148.429 150.7551.11.6 
 

Other goods and services

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447.550 445.6132.6-0.4 
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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192.729 187.958-3.9-2.5 

Commodities less food and beverages

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161.229 152.980-8.1-5.1 

Nondurables less food and beverages

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212.620 195.604-11.4-8.0 

Durables

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111.193 111.149-2.30.0 

Services

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313.173 314.4763.40.4 
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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243.442 240.982-0.6-1.0 

All items less medical care

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242.973 241.1740.4-0.7 

Commodities less food

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164.916 157.023-7.5-4.8 

Nondurables

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231.136 223.969-4.4-3.1 

Nondurables less food

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214.302 198.830-10.2-7.2 

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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350.181 353.0133.80.8 

Services less medical care services

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293.808 295.0423.50.4 

Energy

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245.031234.771221.409-12.8-9.6-5.7

All items less energy

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261.028 261.3861.80.1 

All items less food and energy

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263.285 263.1961.90.0 

Footnotes
(1) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(2) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences, and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
 

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

 

Last Modified Date: Thursday, February 26, 2015