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20-1214-BOS
Thursday, June 11, 2020

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

Area prices down 1.0 percent over two months; up 0.6 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area decreased 1.0 percent in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner William J. Sibley noted that this was mainly attributable to lower energy prices, down 14.1 percent, and, to a lesser extent, lower all items less food and energy prices, down 0.8 percent. Higher food prices, up 3.5 percent, partially offset the decrease. (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 0.6 percent. The increase was due to higher costs within all item less food and energy, and, higher food prices, up 1.1 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively.  Lower energy costs, down 18.2 percent, partially offset the increase.  (See chart 1.)

Food

Food prices increased 3.5 percent since March, mainly due to higher prices for food at home, up 3.9 percent. Higher food at home prices were mainly driven by higher prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, up 8.2 percent. 

Food prices increased 7.1 percent over the year, mainly due to higher grocery store prices, up 7.7 percent, and, to a lesser extent, higher restaurant prices, up 6.1 percent.  Higher grocery store prices were due to increased prices recorded across most of the published subcategories.

Energy

The energy index decreased 14.1 percent over the two months, mainly due to lower gasoline prices, down 18.1 percent, and, to a lesser extent, lower utility piped gas prices down, 24.7 percent.          

Energy prices decreased 18.2 percent from a year ago, mainly due to lower gasoline prices, down 29.6 percent. 

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy decreased (0.8 percent) mainly due to lower apparel costs, down 10.1 percent, and, to a lesser extent, medical care costs, down 2.1 percent. Shelter costs, up 0.3 percent, slightly offset the decrease. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 0.9 percent, led the increase.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.1 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 3.0 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 4.0 percent, and, to a lesser extent, rent of primary residence, up 3.1 percent, led the increase. Also contributing to the overall increase in prices within all items less food and energy were higher costs within education and communication, up 3.6 percent, and, to a lesser extent higher medical care costs, up 3.3 percent. Lower apparel prices, down, 9.7 percent partially offset the overall increase. Within education and communication, higher costs for tuition, other school fees, and childcare, up 3.6 percent, led the increase.

CPI-W

In May, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 280.697. The CPI-W decreased 1.3 percent over two months and increased 0.4 percent over the year.

The July 2020 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on May 2020 Consumer Price Index Data

Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in May was affected by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the number of prices considered temporarily unavailable and imputed.

While the CPI program attempted to collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month. Additional information is available atwww.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.htm

 


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.
2020
Apr.
2020
May
2020
May
2019
Mar.
2020
Apr.
2020

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0
285.544 282.6200.6-1.0 

All items (1967 = 100)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11AAA0
829.940 821.444   

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF
276.001 285.1636.63.3 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF1
278.502 288.1857.13.5 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF11
262.069268.426272.2287.73.91.4

Cereal and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF111
307.226 333.45113.38.5 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF112
263.672 285.29111.08.2 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFJ
288.207 297.3943.23.2 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF113
344.076 351.8247.52.3 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF114
167.698 163.308-2.5-2.6 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF115
210.754 215.9089.12.4 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFV
307.221 316.0486.12.9 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF116
252.768 256.5621.21.5 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH
299.526 296.9331.7-0.9 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH1
356.239358.299357.3993.00.3-0.3

Rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHA
367.496369.300370.1093.10.70.2

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC
380.553382.891383.9124.00.90.3

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC01
380.553382.891383.9124.00.90.3

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH2
296.581 266.234-8.1-10.2 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH21
249.266245.883220.376-9.5-11.6-10.4

Energy services(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF
273.424273.278241.641-4.0-11.6-11.6

Electricity(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF01
312.350312.100296.280-2.3-5.1-5.1

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF02
199.773199.773150.485-9.1-24.7-24.7

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH3
130.569 127.544-0.4-2.3 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAA
136.220 122.471-9.7-10.1 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT
186.954 176.138-11.6-5.8 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT1
190.475 178.374-10.4-6.4 

New and used motor vehicles(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA
  105.3461.3  

New Vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA01
  223.6756.0  

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA02
320.588 314.917-0.9-1.8 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB
212.385184.985174.087-29.5-18.0-5.9

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB01
209.953182.696171.848-29.6-18.1-5.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47014
202.771174.383163.949-31.0-19.1-6.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47015
231.014215.307200.774-21.0-13.1-6.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47016
226.075211.007199.439-20.4-11.8-5.5

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
713.316 698.0163.3-2.1 

Recreation(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAR
122.892 123.085-0.40.2 

Education and communication(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAE
170.337 170.9043.60.3 

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEEB
1,398.308 1,398.3083.60.0 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAG
513.228 514.1592.90.2 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAC
192.525 190.443-1.7-1.1 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL11
149.849 143.283-7.7-4.4 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL11
192.606 177.443-13.6-7.9 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAD
108.310 108.4450.80.1 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAS
369.304 365.6201.7-1.0 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L2
259.778 254.981-0.9-1.8 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L5
269.356 266.8730.4-0.9 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL1
153.955 147.721-7.2-4.0 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAN
233.166 229.711-2.5-1.5 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL1
196.062 182.391-12.3-7.0 

Services less rent of shelter(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL2RS
401.738 391.2750.0-2.6 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL5
344.620 341.7511.3-0.8 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0E
231.503217.981198.879-18.2-14.1-8.8

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0LE
294.501 293.8481.9-0.2 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L1E
298.174 295.8411.1-0.8 

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: Thursday, June 11, 2020