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19-981-BOS
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Cambridge-Newton — May 2019

Area prices up 0.2 percent over two months; up 2.3 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area increased 0.2 percent in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that this was mainly attributable to higher prices within all items less food and energy, up 0.4 percent, and to a lesser extent higher energy prices, up 0.4 percent. Lower food prices, down 1.1 percent, partially offset the increase. (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 2.3 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher prices within all items less food and energy up 2.5 percent.(See chart 1.)

Food

Food prices decreased 1.1 percent since March, mainly due to lower food at home prices, down 1.6 percent. Lower food at home prices were mainly driven by lower prices for fruits and vegetables, and lower prices for cereals and bakery products down 5.4 percent and 3.7 percent respectively.

Food prices increased 1.6 percent over the year, mainly due to both higher food at home prices, up 1.3 percent, and food away from home prices, up 2.0 percent.

Energy

The energy index increased 0.4 percent over the two months, mainly driven by higher gasoline prices, up 12.9 percent, but, was mainly offset by lower prices in utility piped gas, down 19.1 percent. Lower electricity prices, down 4.0 percent, also partially offset the increase.

Energy prices were up 0.7 percent from a year ago, largely attributable to higher prices in utility piped gas, up 6.7 percent and electricity prices up 2.7 percent. Lower gasoline prices partially offset the increase.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased from March (0.4 percent) mainly due to higher shelter costs, up 0.9 percent. Within shelter, higher local costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.7) percent, mainly contributed to the increase. To a lesser extent, higher costs for medical care, up 2.5 percent also contributed to the overall increase. Lower apparel costs, down 8.3 percent partially offset the increase.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.5 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 3.7 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 4.2 percent and to a lesser extent, higher rent of primary residence, up 3.1 percent led the increase. Higher medical care costs, up 4.0 percent, also contributed to the increase.

CPI-W

In May, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 279.579. The CPI-W remained unchanged over two months and increased 2.2 percent over the year.

 

The July 2019 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 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
Mar.
2019
Apr.
2019
May
2019
May
2018
Mar.
2019
Apr.
2019

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0
280.393 280.9372.30.2 

All items (1967 = 100)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11AAA0
814.971 816.552   

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF
269.784 267.5791.6-0.8 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF1
272.174 269.1821.6-1.1 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF11
256.923250.364252.7391.3-1.60.9

Cereal and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF111
305.512 294.2650.7-3.7 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF112
253.007 257.1150.71.6 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFJ
282.610 288.3026.92.0 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF113
345.801 327.179-0.8-5.4 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF114
167.615 167.4154.6-0.1 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF115
201.937 197.8650.0-2.0 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFV
298.802 297.9312.0-0.3 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF116
246.830 253.6330.92.8 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH
291.327 291.8773.40.2 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH1
343.857346.426346.8603.70.90.1

Rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHA
357.517358.421358.8333.10.40.1

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC
366.543367.758369.1954.20.70.4

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC01
366.543367.758369.1954.20.70.4

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH2
310.649 289.5963.2-6.8 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH21
263.764263.896243.5293.0-7.7-7.7

Energy services(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF
277.637277.640251.6963.9-9.3-9.3

Electricity(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF01
315.864315.864303.1982.7-4.0-4.0

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF02
204.689204.696165.5576.7-19.1-19.1

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH3
125.649 128.0720.81.9 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAA
147.799 135.571-3.7-8.3 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT
193.368 199.1820.23.0 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT1
194.633 199.1070.22.3 

New and used motor vehicles(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA
106.782 104.0101.1-2.6 

New Vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA01
213.695 211.0272.6-1.2 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA02
320.169 317.8490.2-0.7 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB
218.685233.149246.923-2.012.95.9

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB01
216.142230.466244.108-2.012.95.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47014
209.413223.865237.526-2.113.46.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47015
229.853242.043254.226-1.710.65.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47016
228.895239.616250.688-1.69.54.6

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
659.055 675.6834.02.5 

Recreation(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAR
124.667 123.5452.8-0.9 

Education and communication(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAE
165.389 164.9030.0-0.3 

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEEB
1,348.743 1,349.1872.40.0 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAG
500.318 499.7102.7-0.1 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAC
193.728 193.7730.10.0 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL11
154.171 155.233-1.00.7 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL11
203.181 205.434-1.41.1 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAD
107.571 107.602-0.40.0 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAS
358.681 359.6543.30.3 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L2
257.866 257.2381.4-0.2 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L5
265.754 265.8112.20.0 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL1
157.932 159.198-0.90.8 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAN
235.565 235.6170.20.0 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL1
205.393 207.964-1.21.3 

Services less rent of shelter(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL2RS
393.382 391.2162.7-0.6 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL5
337.226 337.2873.10.0 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0E
242.276248.631243.2390.70.4-2.2

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0LE
287.967 288.4822.40.2 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L1E
291.556 292.6702.50.4 

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, June 12, 2019