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21-678-BOS
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

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

Area prices up 0.9 percent over two months; up 1.3 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Boston area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), advanced 0.9 percent for the two months ending in March 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table) Regional Commissioner William J. Sibley noted that the March increase was influenced by higher prices for energy. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U increased 1.3 percent. (See chart 1 and table) Energy prices rose 8.2 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of gasoline. Food prices advanced 3.7 percent.

Food

Food prices rose 0.7 percent for the two months ending in March. (See table) Prices for food away from home advanced 2.6 percent, and prices for food at home declined 0.6 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices advanced 3.7 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 8.7 percent, and prices for food at home advanced 0.4 percent since a year ago.

Energy

The energy index rose 8.6 percent for the two months ending in March. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (19.0 percent). Prices for electricity increased 1.7 percent, while prices for natural gas service declined 1.1 percent for the same period.

Energy prices rose 8.2 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for gasoline (12.3 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service advanced 7.3 percent, and prices for electricity increased 0.9 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy advanced 0.4 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for shelter (0.4 percent) and apparel (3.3 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for recreation (-0.9 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (1.2 percent) and education and communication (2.2 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were price decreases in recreation (-6.4 percent), apparel (-6.6 percent), and medical care (-2.2 percent).

CPI-W

In March, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 288.652. The CPI-W increased 1.1 percent over two months and increased 1.5 percent over the year.

The May 2021 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton area is scheduled to be released on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on March 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 March 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
Jan.
2021
Feb.
2021
Mar.
2021
Mar.
2020
Jan.
2021
Feb.
2021

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0
286.615 289.2401.30.9 

All items (1967 = 100)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11AAA0
833.053 840.685   

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF
284.760 286.7133.90.7 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF1
286.856 288.8993.70.7 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF11
264.876261.598263.2080.4-0.60.6

Cereal and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF111
311.669 303.975-1.1-2.5 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF112
278.807 282.8577.31.5 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFJ
289.638 288.3820.1-0.4 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF113
343.526 343.859-0.10.1 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF114
168.520 170.6931.81.3 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF115
207.911 201.881-4.2-2.9 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEFV
325.397 334.0168.72.6 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAF116
265.855 266.8865.60.4 

Housing

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH
302.871 304.5611.70.6 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH1
358.841359.294360.4181.20.40.3

Rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHA
375.135375.653375.7262.20.20.0

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC
386.511386.560388.6542.10.60.5

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHC01
386.511386.560388.6542.10.60.5

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH2
307.458 314.5266.12.3 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH21
256.742259.270263.5065.72.61.6

Energy services(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF
279.653278.748281.6483.00.71.0

Electricity(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF01
309.750309.789315.0960.91.71.7

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEHF02
216.836214.793214.3447.3-1.1-0.2

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAH3
133.145 133.1852.00.0 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAA
123.223 127.278-6.63.3 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT
187.703 194.3534.03.5 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAT1
191.533 201.7635.95.3 

New and used motor vehicles(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA
108.870 112.018 2.9 

New Vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA01
216.146 213.293 -1.3 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETA02
343.012 353.74510.33.1 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB
200.359211.577238.31612.218.912.6

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASETB01
198.108209.172235.77512.319.012.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47014
190.579202.054228.95412.920.113.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47015
223.056227.542247.4157.110.98.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASS47016
218.388225.371246.3949.012.89.3

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
693.754 697.383-2.20.5 

Recreation(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAR
116.060 115.031-6.4-0.9 

Education and communication(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAE
172.818 174.0232.20.7 

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASEEB
1,420.582 1,422.5441.70.1 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAG
519.220 522.0851.70.6 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAC
194.408 198.6133.22.2 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL11
148.847 153.7802.63.3 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL11
184.222 194.4991.05.6 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAD
112.738 113.4454.70.6 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAS
369.668 370.9220.40.3 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L2
260.189 263.3331.41.2 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L5
271.129 273.7061.61.0 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASACL1
153.434 158.2512.83.1 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASAN
233.037 239.3162.62.7 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASANL1
189.321 198.8551.45.0 

Services less rent of shelter(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL2RS
399.069 399.915-0.50.2 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASASL5
346.078 347.1190.70.3 

Energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0E
230.658236.843250.5708.28.65.8

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0LE
295.739 297.0590.90.4 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS11ASA0L1E
298.262 299.4690.40.4 

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: Wednesday, April 14, 2021