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15-2021-BOS
Thursday, October 15, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Brockton-Nashua — September 2015

Area prices edged down 0.1 percent over two months; up 0.3 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Brockton-Nashua area edged down 0.1 percent in September, 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 paid by area consumers for energy, down 9.0 percent. Higher prices for shelter, up 0.7 percent over two months, and to a lesser extent, prices paid for education and communication, up 2.6 percent, largely offset 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 0.3 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher shelter and food prices, up 3.9 and 2.2 percent, respectively. (See chart 1.) Lower energy prices paid by area consumers, down 22.5 percent, nearly offset the modest increase.

 

Food

Food prices were up 0.2 percent since July. A rise in the prices for food away from home (0.6 percent), or restaurant prices, was the cause of this rise. Grocery store prices, also known as food at home, were unchanged over the two month period.

From September 2014 to September 2015 the index for food rose 2.2 percent due to higher grocery store prices (+1.7 percent) and higher restaurant prices (+2.9 percent).  

Energy

The energy index was down 9.0 percent over the two months, mainly due to decreases in the prices paid for gasoline (-14.3 percent). Area motorists paid $2.364 per gallon of gasoline in September. Decreases in prices paid for utility (piped) gas (-7.5 percent) also contributed to the drop in the energy index.

Energy prices were down 22.5 percent from a year ago, attributable to lower gasoline prices, down 32.1 percent. Contributing to the decline were lower prices paid by area consumers for utility (piped) gas, down 23.8 percent from one year ago. Partially offsetting these declines was a 5.6-percent advance in local electricity prices.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.6 percent from July. Increases in the indexes for shelter (+0.7 percent) and education and communication (+2.6 percent) led the advance but were partially offset by decreases in the indexes for recreation (-0.5 percent) and new and used motor vehicles (-0.7 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.4 percent, with higher shelter costs, rising 3.9 percent from September 2014, being the main cause of this increase. This marked the 51st consecutive annual increase in the local shelter index.

CPI-W

In September, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 255.265. The CPI-W was down 0.4 percent over two months and down 0.2 percent over the year.

The November 2015 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Brockton-Nashua is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, December 15, 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 6,000 housing units and approximately 24,000 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
Jul.
2015
Aug.
2015
Sep.
2015
Sep.
2014
Jul.
2015
Aug.
2015

All items

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256.999 256.6430.3-0.1 

All items (1967 = 100)

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746.974 745.940   
 

Food and beverages

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255.875 256.5792.00.3 

Food

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256.546 257.1732.20.2 

Food at home

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246.598246.943246.6621.70.0-0.1

Food away from home

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273.106 274.7942.90.6 

Alcoholic beverages

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252.377 253.8930.70.6 
 

Housing

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255.879 256.7682.20.3 

Shelter

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304.993304.378307.1113.90.70.9

Rent of primary residence (1)

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313.534312.880315.2033.50.50.7

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

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323.968324.108326.3834.30.70.7

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

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323.968324.108326.3834.30.70.7

Fuels and utilities

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228.751 220.976-9.9-3.4 

Household energy

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189.276183.453181.690-11.8-4.0-1.0

Energy services (1)

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188.961186.104185.573-2.8-1.8-0.3

Electricity (1)

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220.402220.402220.4025.60.00.0

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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126.231118.240116.755-23.8-7.5-1.3

Household furnishings and operations

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127.470 129.2541.61.4 
 

Apparel

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145.541 146.410-2.90.6 
 

Transportation

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192.227 184.307-10.8-4.1 

Private transportation

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191.357 182.906-11.2-4.4 

Motor fuel

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233.464219.652200.126-32.1-14.3-8.9

Gasoline (all types)

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230.736217.068197.754-32.1-14.3-8.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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227.134211.657191.421-33.6-15.7-9.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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238.273229.324211.864-29.2-11.1-7.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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232.459225.232210.684-26.5-9.4-6.5
 

Medical care

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604.047 606.6683.00.4 
 

Recreation (6)

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118.063 117.4362.5-0.5 
 

Education and communication (6)

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151.166 155.0903.62.6 
 

Other goods and services

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447.172 445.5081.3-0.4 
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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191.314 188.975-3.8-1.2 

Commodities less food and beverages

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157.254 153.430-8.2-2.4 

Nondurables less food and beverages

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205.215 196.762-12.1-4.1 

Durables

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110.440 110.940-1.00.5 

Services

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315.986 317.5642.80.5 
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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240.764 239.422-1.4-0.6 

All items less medical care

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243.506 243.0600.1-0.2 

Commodities less food

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161.028 157.433-7.6-2.2 

Nondurables

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229.405 225.614-4.5-1.7 

Nondurables less food

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207.404 199.844-10.9-3.6 

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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344.764 345.7111.70.3 

Services less medical care services

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296.396 297.9202.80.5 

Energy

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207.142197.885188.409-22.5-9.0-4.8

All items less energy

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265.458 266.8502.30.5 

All items less food and energy

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267.740 269.2892.40.6 

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, October 15, 2015