Wednesday, April 11, 2018
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 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.
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.
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).
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.
|Expenditure category||Indexes||Percent change from|
All items (1967 = 100)
Food and beverages
Food at home
Cereal and bakery products
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Dairy and related products
Fruits and vegetables
Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)
Other food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence(2)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service(2)
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles(5)
Used cars and trucks(1)
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)
Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)
Motor vehicle insurance(1)
Education and communication(5)
Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)
Other goods and services
Commodity and service group
Commodities less food and beverages
Nondurables less food and beverages
Special aggregate indexes
All items less shelter
All items less medical care
Commodities less food
Nondurables less food
Services less rent of shelter(3)
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy
Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.
Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018