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News Release Information

18-569-BOS
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Cambridge-Newton — March 2018

Area prices up 0.9 percent over two months; up 3.6 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area increased 0.9 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that the two-month increase was mainly due to all items less food and energy, up 0.8 percent and, to a lesser extent, higher energy prices, up 2.6 percent. (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 3.6 percent. This was the largest yearly increase recorded in the Boston area since September 2011 (3.7 percent). The increase was largely attributable to higher prices within all items less food and energy up 2.6 percent (See chart 1.).Higher energy prices paid by area consumers, up 16.8 percent also contributed to the increase.

Food

Food prices edged up 0.4 percent since January mainly due to higher food at home prices, up 0.8 percent which was mainly driven by higher prices for fruits and vegetables; and meats, poultry, fish, and eggs up 2.1 percent and 2.0 percent respectively.

Food prices increased 2.5 percent over the year, mainly due to higher food at home prices, up 2.7 percent, and to a lesser extent, food away from home prices, up 2.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index increased 2.6 percent over the two months, mainly driven by higher utility piped gas prices up 18.3 percent.

Energy prices were up 16.8 percent from a year ago, largely attributable to gasoline prices, up 15.1 percent and to a lesser extent, utility piped gas prices up 30.1 percent. Higher prices for electricity also contributed to the overall increase, up 10.9 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased from January (0.8 percent) mainly due to higher shelter costs, up 1.0 percent. Within shelter, lodging away from home or motel prices drove the increase. Higher prices for apparel up 4.5 also contributed to the overall increase.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.6 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 4.8 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 4.0 percent, led the increase. To a lesser extent, higher prices for education and communication, up 4.2 percent, also contributed to the increase.

CPI-W

In March, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 273.619. The CPI-W was up 0.7 percent over two months and increased 3.7 percent over the year.

The May 2018 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, June 12, 2018, 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 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 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H. Core Based Statistical Area covered in this release is comprised of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk Counties in Massachusetts; Rockingham, Strafford Counties in New Hampshire.

Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339. 

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Ma.-N.H. (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure categoryIndexesPercent change from
Historical
data
Jan.
2018
Feb.
2018
Mar.
2018
Mar.
2017
Jan.
2018
Feb.
2018

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0
272.229 274.5913.60.9 

All items (1967 = 100)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11AAA0
791.242 798.105   

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF
263.457 263.8862.10.2 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF1
264.084 265.2332.50.4 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF11
248.355248.386250.4482.70.80.8

Cereal and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF111
294.230 297.650 1.2 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF112
248.563 253.515 2.0 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFJ
265.415 271.129 2.2 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF113
328.268 335.151 2.1 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF114
163.026 162.669 -0.2 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF115
198.104 195.212 -1.5 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFV
291.574 291.0452.2-0.2 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF116
260.660 252.814-2.6-3.0 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH
280.928 283.9735.61.1 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH1
328.516329.835331.6444.81.00.5

Rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHA
343.127344.379344.6814.80.50.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)(3)(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC
350.824351.703351.6734.00.20.0

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)(3)(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC01
350.824351.703351.6734.00.20.0

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH2
307.104 316.20415.83.0 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH21
261.912265.818270.65817.93.31.8

Energy services(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF
273.073279.963286.58317.24.92.4

Electricity(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF01
313.846306.633307.18210.9-2.10.2

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF02
197.556220.512233.68630.118.36.0

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH3
128.845 128.9250.50.1 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAA
133.773 139.815-5.44.5 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT
190.677 192.4804.30.9 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT1
192.018 193.8455.51.0 

New and used motor vehicles(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA
103.780 104.950 1.1 

New Vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA01
215.221 212.849 -1.1 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA02
310.689 319.657 2.9 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB
220.770224.284224.23815.11.60.0

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB01
218.214221.696221.65715.11.60.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47014
211.582215.128215.14215.71.70.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47015
230.493233.769234.88012.91.90.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47016
229.957232.218231.50711.30.7-0.3

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETE
      

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAM
647.732 649.3401.90.2 

Recreation(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAR
121.117 121.589-2.70.4 

Education and communication(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAE
163.858 165.2924.20.9 

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEEB
1,310.836 1,317.574 0.5 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAG
485.373 483.7421.7-0.3 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAC
192.265 192.9642.10.4 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL11
154.948 155.7522.10.5 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL11
200.354 201.8333.00.7 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAD
111.316 111.5281.10.2 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAS
344.726 348.5304.41.1 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L2
252.932 254.9923.00.8 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L5
257.782 260.1373.70.9 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL1
159.168 159.6721.90.3 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAN
231.020 231.9782.50.4 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL1
203.779 204.5802.50.4 

Services less rent of shelter(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL2RS
381.151 386.0583.91.3 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL5
323.838 327.4604.61.1 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0E
242.147245.854248.53716.82.61.1

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0LE
278.965 281.0032.60.7 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L1E
282.370 284.5652.60.8 

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a January 1978=100 base.
(2) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(3) Indexes on a November 1982=100 base.
(4) 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.
(5) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(6) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(7) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

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

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018