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21-270-BOS
Thursday, February 11, 2021

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Cambridge-Newton — January 2021

Area prices up 0.7 percent over two months; up 0.5 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Boston area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), advanced 0.7 percent for the two months ending in January 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner William J. Sibley noted that the January increase was influenced by higher prices for energy. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bimonthly changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U rose 0.5 percent. (See chart 1 and table.) Food prices increased 4.8 percent. The index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.2 percent over the year. Energy prices declined 4.5 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. (See chart 1 and table.)

Food

Food prices advanced 1.2 percent for the two months ending in January. (See table.) Prices for food at home increased 0.5 percent, and prices for food away from home rose 2.2 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices increased 4.8 percent. Prices for food at home increased 3.8 percent since a year ago, and prices for food away from home increased 6.1 percent.

Energy

The energy index rose 7.0 percent for the two months ending in January. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (9.7 percent). Prices for electricity increased 5.6 percent, and prices for natural gas service rose 1.8 percent for the same period.

Energy prices declined 4.5 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-10.2 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service rose 8.5 percent, while prices for electricity declined 0.9 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy crept up 0.2 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for household furnishings and operations (2.3 percent) and apparel (3.2 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for education and communication (-0.2 percent) and other goods and services (-0.1 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.2 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (1.1 percent) and education and communication (1.2 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were price decreases in recreation (-5.6 percent) and apparel (-4.7 percent).

CPI-W

In January, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 285.461. The CPI-W increased (0.8 percent) over two months and increased 0.4 percent over the year.

The March 2021 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton area is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on January 2021 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 January 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 measures 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 93 percent of the total U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. 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 6,000 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; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000.  Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cpi/.

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.
2020
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021
Jan.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0
284.622 286.6150.50.7 

All items (1967 = 100)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11AAA0
827.261 833.053   

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF
281.719 284.7604.71.1 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF1
283.592 286.8564.81.2 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF11
263.667265.295264.8763.80.5-0.2

Cereal and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF111
313.740 311.6694.5-0.7 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF112
281.169 278.8077.5-0.8 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFJ
300.566 289.6381.9-3.6 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF113
339.294 343.5265.51.2 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF114
170.712 168.5201.3-1.3 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF115
199.395 207.9111.34.3 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFV
318.495 325.3976.12.2 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF116
265.117 265.8553.80.3 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH
300.804 302.8711.10.7 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH1
358.708359.374358.8411.10.0-0.1

Rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHA
375.595375.097375.1351.9-0.10.0

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC
385.294385.673386.5111.90.30.2

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC01
385.294385.673386.5111.90.30.2

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH2
293.352 307.4580.64.8 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH21
243.263247.368256.742-0.85.53.8

Energy services(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF
268.291269.954279.6532.24.23.6

Electricity(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF01
293.256293.256309.750-0.95.65.6

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF02
213.062216.722216.8368.51.80.1

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH3
130.111 133.1452.02.3 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAA
119.418 123.223-4.73.2 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT
185.881 187.703-2.41.0 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT1
187.393 191.533-0.92.2 

New and used motor vehicles(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA
108.971 108.8703.3-0.1 

New Vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA01
217.381 216.146-1.8-0.6 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA02
346.876 343.01210.2-1.1 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB
182.899186.027200.359-10.39.57.7

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB01
180.648183.781198.108-10.29.77.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47014
172.966176.168190.579-10.810.28.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47015
206.408209.925223.056-5.98.16.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47016
205.244207.163218.388-7.36.45.4

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
692.641 693.754-1.40.2 

Recreation(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAR
114.852 116.060-5.61.1 

Education and communication(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAE
173.249 172.8181.2-0.2 

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEEB
1,425.876 1,420.5821.6-0.4 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAG
519.783 519.2201.4-0.1 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAC
190.730 194.4081.01.9 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL11
145.076 148.847-1.72.6 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL11
178.035 184.222-5.83.5 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAD
110.985 112.7383.71.6 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAS
369.142 369.6680.30.1 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L2
257.330 260.1890.21.1 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L5
269.116 271.1290.70.7 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL1
149.753 153.434-1.42.5 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAN
228.357 233.0370.12.0 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL1
183.573 189.321-4.93.1 

Services less rent of shelter(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL2RS
397.989 399.069-0.70.3 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL5
345.602 346.0780.40.1 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0E
215.610219.266230.658-4.57.05.2

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0LE
294.732 295.7390.80.3 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L1E
297.618 298.2620.20.2 

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: Thursday, February 11, 2021