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20-1565-BOS
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

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

Area prices up 0.2 percent over two months; up 0.8 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 July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Acting Regional Commissioner Mark J. Maggi noted that this was mainly attributable to higher all items less food and energy prices, up 0.2 percent, and to a lesser extent, higher energy and food prices up 0.5 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. (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 0.8 percent. The increase was due to higher food prices, up 7.6 percent and higher costs within all item less food and energy, up 0.8 percent. Lower energy costs, down 13.8 percent, partially offset the increase.  (See chart 1.)

Food

Food prices increased 0.2 percent since May, mainly due to higher food at home or grocery store prices, up 0.5 percent. Higher food at home prices were mainly driven by higher prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, up 4.3 percent and nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials, up 4.7 percent.  Food away from home, or restaurant prices, partially offset the increase and inched down since May (-0.1 percent).

Food prices increased 7.6 percent over the year, mainly due to higher grocery store prices, up 9.2 percent and to a lesser extent, higher restaurant prices, up 5.2 percent. Local food prices haven’t risen by as much since recording an 8.4 percent annual increase in March 1989. Higher grocery store prices were due to increased prices recorded across all of the published subcategories.

Energy

The energy index increased 0.5 percent over the two months, mainly due to higher gasoline prices, up 5.2 percent. This overall increase was partially offset by lower electricity and utility piped gas prices down, 3.2 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.       

Energy prices decreased 13.8 percent from a year ago, mainly due to lower gasoline prices, down 22.6 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent mainly due to higher shelter costs, up 0.3 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 0.2 percent, led the increase. Also contributing to the overall increase in prices were higher prices in education and communication, up 0.4 percent. Lower recreation prices, down 5.2 percent and to a lesser extent, household furnishings and operations, down 0.8 percent, partially offset the increase.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.8 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 2.1 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 3.8 percent, and to a lesser extent, rent of primary residence, up 3.0 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 2.9 percent, and medical care costs, up 1.5 percent. Lower prices in recreation, down 6.1 percent and to a lesser extent, lower apparel prices, down, 3.8 percent partially offset the overall increase. 

CPI-W

In July, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 281.598. The CPI-W increased 0.3 percent over two months and increased 0.9 percent over the year.

The September 2020 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on July 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 July 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
May
2020
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020
Jul.
2019
May
2020
Jun.
2020

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0
282.620 283.1750.80.2 

All items (1967 = 100)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11AAA0
821.444 823.056   

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF
285.163 285.8377.20.2 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF1
288.185 288.8787.60.2 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF11
272.228273.850273.4609.20.5-0.1

Cereal and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF111
333.451 324.74310.7-2.6 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF112
285.291 297.52217.04.3 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFJ
297.394 293.8922.0-1.2 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF113
351.824 351.1559.4-0.2 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF114
163.308 170.9995.94.7 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF115
215.908 212.3196.4-1.7 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFV
316.048 315.7815.2-0.1 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF116
256.562 257.0493.40.2 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH
296.933 297.1491.20.1 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH1
357.399359.727358.6262.10.3-0.3

Rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHA
370.109370.773370.9723.00.20.1

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC
383.912384.552384.7243.80.20.0

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC01
383.912384.552384.7243.80.20.0

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH2
266.234 262.049-5.4-1.6 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH21
220.376220.966215.296-6.9-2.3-2.6

Energy services(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF
241.641241.514232.863-2.3-3.6-3.6

Electricity(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF01
296.280296.062286.886-0.9-3.2-3.1

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF02
150.485150.488143.256-6.8-4.8-4.8

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH3
127.544 126.530-0.6-0.8 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAA
122.471 123.640-3.81.0 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT
176.138 181.952-6.03.3 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT1
178.374 184.405-5.23.4 

New and used motor vehicles(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA
105.346 105.2631.7-0.1 

New Vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA01
223.675 214.6096.5-4.1 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA02
314.917 322.507-2.22.4 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB
174.087179.544183.054-22.55.22.0

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB01
171.848177.289180.786-22.65.22.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47014
163.949169.572173.189-23.65.62.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47015
200.774203.195205.885-16.82.51.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47016
199.439202.786204.765-16.12.71.0

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
698.016 695.7001.5-0.3 

Recreation(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAR
123.085 116.746-6.1-5.2 

Education and communication(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAE
170.904 171.6242.90.4 

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEEB
1,398.308 1,400.3413.50.1 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAG
514.159 516.4732.30.5 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAC
190.443 190.932-0.20.3 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL11
143.283 143.674-5.60.3 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL11
177.443 180.178-10.01.5 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAD
108.445 107.1080.4-1.2 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAS
365.620 366.2361.30.2 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L2
254.981 255.2480.00.1 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L5
266.873 267.5230.70.2 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL1
147.721 148.117-5.10.3 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAN
229.711 231.457-0.40.8 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL1
182.391 184.944-8.71.4 

Services less rent of shelter(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL2RS
391.275 391.1090.30.0 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL5
341.751 342.5001.10.2 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0E
198.879201.525199.790-13.80.5-0.9

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0LE
293.848 294.3841.70.2 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L1E
295.841 296.3540.80.2 

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, August 12, 2020