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19-1820-BOS
Friday, October 11, 2019

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

Area prices increased by 0.2 percent over two months; up 1.1 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 September, 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 0.6 percent.  Lower energy prices, down 2.2 percent, and, to a lesser extent, lower food prices, down 0.7 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 1.1 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher prices within all items less food and energy, up 1.9 percent. Lower energy prices, down 5.4 percent, and, to a lesser extent, lower food prices, down 1.0 percent, partially offset the increase.  (See chart 1.)

Food

Food prices decreased 0.7 percent since July, mainly due to lower food at home or grocery prices, down 1.5 percent. Higher food away from home or restaurant prices, up 0.5 percent, partially offset the decrease. Lower food at home prices were mainly driven by lower fruits and vegetables prices, down 8.8 percent.

Food prices decreased 1.0 percent over the year, due to lower grocery store prices, down 3.1 percent. Partially offsetting this decrease, were higher restaurant prices, up 2.4 percent.  Lower grocery store prices were mainly driven by lower fruits and vegetable prices, down 17.7 percent.

Energy

The energy index decreased 2.2 percent over the two months, mainly driven by lower gasoline prices, down 4.1 percent.

Energy prices were down 5.4 percent from a year ago, largely attributable to lower gasoline prices, down 9.7 percent.  Lower prices for electricity and utility (piped) gas, down 0.9 and 1.0 percent, respectively, also contributed to the decrease.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased from July (0.6 percent) mainly due to higher apparel costs, up 12.8 percent and followed normal seasonal patterns, and higher education and communication costs, up 1.8 percent.  Lower recreation costs, down 2.5 percent, and lower prices for new and used motor vehicles, down 1.7 percent, partially offset the increase.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.9 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 3.1 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 3.5 percent, and to a lesser extent, higher rent of primary residence, up 3.0 percent, led the increase. Higher medical care and education and communication costs, up 6.0 and 1.7 percent, respectively, also contributed to the overall increase.  Within education and communication expenses, higher tuition and child care costs, up 3.4 percent, led the increase.

CPI-W

In September, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 279.876. The CPI-W increased 0.3 percent over two months and 0.8 percent over the year.

The November 2019 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, December 11, 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
Jul.
2019
Aug.
2019
Sep.
2019
Sep.
2018
Jul.
2019
Aug.
2019

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0
280.943 281.6031.10.2 

All items (1967 = 100)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11AAA0
816.568 818.486   

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF
266.557 265.357-0.9-0.5 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF1
268.511 266.716-1.0-0.7 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF11
250.490251.406246.839-3.1-1.5-1.8

Cereal and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF111
293.263 297.2481.21.4 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF112
254.328 254.1491.7-0.1 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFJ
288.100 280.547-1.5-2.6 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF113
320.883 292.654-17.7-8.8 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF114
161.517 162.7240.10.7 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF115
199.574 201.9111.41.2 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFV
300.065 301.5682.40.5 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF116
248.561 254.180-0.82.3 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH
293.495 294.6772.70.4 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH1
351.127350.608352.0543.10.30.4

Rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHA
360.165361.660363.5303.00.90.5

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC
370.777372.487373.4323.50.70.3

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC01
370.777372.487373.4323.50.70.3

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH2
276.917 275.390-1.2-0.6 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH21
231.216229.969229.750-1.9-0.6-0.1

Energy services(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF
238.298238.023237.064-0.9-0.5-0.4

Electricity(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF01
289.590289.107289.144-0.9-0.20.0

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF02
153.736153.736151.689-1.0-1.3-1.3

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH3
127.251 130.9392.22.9 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAA
128.545 144.971-4.212.8 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT
193.663 189.679-3.9-2.1 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT1
194.449 190.479-4.2-2.0 

New and used motor vehicles(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA
103.497 101.698-1.3-1.7 

New Vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA01
201.502 201.777-1.00.1 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA02
329.714 318.5473.0-3.4 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB
236.165233.929226.427-9.6-4.1-3.2

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB01
233.461231.246223.820-9.7-4.1-3.2

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47014
226.587224.490216.739-10.1-4.3-3.5

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47015
247.460244.603240.597-7.5-2.8-1.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47016
243.925241.246237.523-6.5-2.6-1.5

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
685.157 690.7066.00.8 

Recreation(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAR
124.290 121.200-1.7-2.5 

Education and communication(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAE
166.789 169.7231.71.8 

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEEB
1,353.260 1,394.1753.43.0 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAG
504.718 502.3312.1-0.5 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAC
191.373 191.569-2.10.1 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL11
152.273 153.096-3.10.5 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL11
200.095 201.886-4.60.9 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAD
106.733 106.719-0.50.0 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAS
361.682 362.7442.50.3 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L2
255.185 255.735-0.30.2 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L5
265.534 266.0400.70.2 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL1
156.154 157.148-2.90.6 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAN
232.417 232.730-2.60.1 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL1
202.668 204.727-4.31.0 

Services less rent of shelter(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL2RS
389.934 391.2241.70.3 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL5
338.885 339.3002.00.1 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0E
231.691230.023226.643-5.4-2.2-1.5

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0LE
289.518 290.6961.50.4 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L1E
294.000 295.6901.90.6 

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: Friday, October 11, 2019