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20-289-BOS
Friday, February 14, 2020

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Cambridge-Newton — January 2020

Area prices increased by 0.6 percent over two months; up 2.2 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area increased 0.6 percent in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Acting Regional Commissioner William J. Sibley noted that this was mainly attributable to higher shelter costs, up 0.7 percent, and, to a lesser extent, higher prices for food, up 1.5 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 2.2 percent.  The increase was largely attributable to higher shelter costs within all items less food and energy, up 3.2 percent, and, to a lesser extent, higher food and energy costs, up 1.7 and 0.6 percent, respectively.  (See chart 1.)

Food

Food prices increased 1.5 percent since November, mainly due to higher food at home or grocery store prices, up 1.3 percent.  Higher food away from home or restaurant prices, up 1.7 percent, also contributed to the increase.  Higher food at home prices were mainly driven by higher prices for the other food at home category, up 2.4 percent.

Food prices increased 1.7 percent over the year, mainly due to higher restaurant prices, up 2.7 percent.  Higher grocery store prices, up 1.1 percent, also contributed to the increase.  Higher food at home prices were mainly driven by higher prices for the other food at home category, up 2.7 percent.   

Energy

The energy index edged up 0.8 percent over the two months, mainly due to higher electricity prices, up 2.8 percent. 

Energy prices edged up 0.6 percent from a year ago, mainly due to higher gasoline prices, up 4.1 percent.  Lower prices for both utility (piped) gas, down 4.4 percent, and electricity, down 0.5 percent, partially offset this increase.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up from November (0.4 percent) mainly due to higher shelter costs, up 0.7 percent.  Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 1.2 percent, and to a lesser extent, higher costs of rent of primary residence, up 1.1 percent led the increase.  Also contributing to the overall increase were higher prices for new vehicles, up 7.2 percent.  Lower apparel costs, down 4.7 percent, partially offset the overall increase.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.4 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 3.2 percent.  Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 3.7 percent, and to a lesser extent, rent of primary residence, up 2.8 percent, led the increase.  Also contributing to the overall increase in prices within all items less food and energy were higher medical care costs, up 7.4 percent, and, to a lesser extent, higher costs within education and communication, up 3.7 percent.

CPI-W

In January, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 284.382. The CPI-W increased 0.8 percent over two months and 2.3 percent over the year.

The March 2020 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 10, 2020, 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
Nov.
2019
Dec.
2019
Jan.
2020
Jan.
2019
Nov.
2019
Dec.
2019

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0
283.526 285.1812.20.6 

All items (1967 = 100)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11AAA0
824.078 828.885   

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF
268.345 272.0101.71.4 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF1
269.785 273.8001.71.5 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF11
251.768255.142255.0701.11.30.0

Cereal and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF111
301.156 298.315-1.0-0.9 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF112
256.055 259.3862.71.3 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFJ
284.327 284.306-0.80.0 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF113
319.517 325.5570.31.9 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF114
162.868 166.3930.62.2 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF115
200.391 205.2352.72.4 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFV
301.331 306.5982.71.7 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF116
256.274 256.1731.70.0 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH
297.126 299.4892.80.8 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH1
352.412350.481355.0293.20.71.3

Rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHA
364.041365.705368.0152.81.10.6

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC
374.641376.453379.2293.71.20.7

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC01
374.641376.453379.2293.71.20.7

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH2
302.251 305.656-1.31.1 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH21
255.453255.474258.711-1.61.31.3

Energy services(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF
268.780268.780273.616-1.81.81.8

Electricity(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF01
304.177304.177312.677-0.52.82.8

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF02
200.074200.074199.773-4.4-0.2-0.2

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH3
129.152 130.5593.11.1 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAA
135.676 129.316-4.2-4.7 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT
190.692 192.2410.00.8 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT1
191.576 193.330-0.10.9 

New and used motor vehicles(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA
102.885 105.369-1.52.4 

New Vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA01
205.236 220.0521.97.2 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA02
316.390 311.192-2.1-1.6 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB
223.122223.269223.3004.10.10.0

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB01
220.542220.686220.7114.10.10.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47014
213.377213.492213.5704.00.10.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47015
237.105237.678236.9234.2-0.1-0.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47016
235.471235.738235.4834.80.0-0.1

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
701.424 703.6037.40.3 

Recreation(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAR
122.090 123.000-1.20.7 

Education and communication(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAE
171.341 170.7803.7-0.3 

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEEB
1,394.215 1,398.3083.70.3 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAG
504.393 512.0432.81.5 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAC
191.527 192.4670.80.5 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL11
151.686 151.3950.0-0.2 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL11
198.167 195.641-0.4-1.3 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAD
107.282 108.6680.61.3 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAS
366.356 368.6702.90.6 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L2
258.471 259.7841.60.5 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L5
267.678 269.3161.90.6 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL1
155.855 155.5710.1-0.2 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAN
232.324 232.8170.80.2 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL1
201.444 199.108-0.2-1.2 

Services less rent of shelter(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL2RS
399.799 401.8802.40.5 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL5
342.394 344.8322.30.7 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0E
239.561239.637241.4890.60.80.8

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0LE
291.668 293.3242.30.6 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L1E
296.308 297.5642.40.4 

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: Friday, February 14, 2020