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News Release Information

22-663-BOS
Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:

Consumer Price Index, Boston-Cambridge-Newton – March 2022

Area prices were up 1.9 percent over the past two months, up 7.3 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Boston area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), advanced 1.9 percent for the two months ending in March 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner William J. Sibley noted that the March increase was influenced by higher prices for energy with gasoline being a big component of the energy increase. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U rose 7.3 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) This was the largest annual increase recorded in the Boston area since January 1989. The index for all items less food and energy rose 5.2 percent over the year. Energy prices jumped 36.9 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of gasoline. Food prices rose 7.1 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices advanced 1.8 percent for the two months ending in March. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home increased 1.7 percent, and prices for food away from home advanced 1.8 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices rose 7.1 percent. Prices for food at home increased 6.1 percent since a year ago, and prices for food away from home increased 8.7 percent.

Energy

The energy index jumped 14.8 percent for the two months ending in March. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (24.5 percent). This was the largest 2-month advance in the area since June 2009 (+29.6 percent). Prices for natural gas service increased 8.1 percent, while prices for electricity edged up 0.4 percent for the same period.

Energy prices jumped 36.9 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for gasoline (53.6 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service advanced 27.0 percent, and prices for electricity jumped 14.5 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.8 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for apparel (7.9 percent) and household furnishings and operations (2.9 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for education and communication (-0.3 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 5.2 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (4.1 percent), used cars and trucks (36.7 percent) and household furnishings and operations (9.9 percent).

The Consumer Price Index for May 2022 is scheduled to be released on Friday, June 10, 2022, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).


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; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

Table A. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

1.1 2.8 0.5 2.5 0.6 2.2 0.7 0.5 1.6 6.3

March

0.9 3.6 0.5 2.1 0.1 1.8 0.9 1.3 1.9 7.3

May

0.0 3.2 0.2 2.3 -1.0 0.6 0.8 3.2

July

0.3 3.4 0.0 2.0 0.2 0.8 1.2 4.3

September

1.2 3.3 0.2 1.1 0.1 0.6 -0.1 4.0

November

-0.4 3.2 0.7 2.1 0.4 0.4 1.7 5.3
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 category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Jan.
2022
Feb.
2022
Mar.
2022
Mar.
2021
Jan.
2022
Feb.
2022

All items

304.634   310.311 7.3 1.9  

All items (1967 = 100)

885.427   901.926      

Food and beverages

300.803   305.791 6.7 1.7  

Food

304.158   309.522 7.1 1.8  

Food at home

274.441 275.322 279.213 6.1 1.7 1.4

Cereal and bakery products

335.316   338.042 11.2 0.8  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

291.535   310.171 9.7 6.4  

Dairy and related products

307.660   319.740 10.9 3.9  

Fruits and vegetables

348.349   357.581 4.0 2.7  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

170.778   168.060 -1.5 -1.6  

Other food at home

212.911   209.243 3.6 -1.7  

Food away from home

356.507   362.937 8.7 1.8  

Alcoholic beverages

268.338   268.857 0.7 0.2  

Housing

319.796   323.726 6.3 1.2  

Shelter

374.094 373.029 375.114 4.1 0.3 0.6

Rent of primary residence(2)

383.389 383.669 385.422 2.6 0.5 0.5

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

399.853 401.577 402.554 3.6 0.7 0.2

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

399.853 401.577 402.554 3.6 0.7 0.2

Fuels and utilities

358.687   385.343 22.5 7.4  

Household energy

306.087 311.791 332.000 26.0 8.5 6.5

Energy services(2)

325.196 327.180 334.893 18.9 3.0 2.4

Electricity(2)

359.213 362.483 360.829 14.5 0.4 -0.5

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

251.671 251.671 272.127 27.0 8.1 8.1

Household furnishings and operations

142.242   146.320 9.9 2.9  

Apparel

132.805   143.254 12.6 7.9  

Transportation

222.369   234.578 20.7 5.5  

Private transportation

233.547   245.026 21.4 4.9  

New and used motor vehicles(5)

135.405   135.327 20.8 -0.1  

New Vehicles(1)

233.835   230.588 8.1 -1.4  

Used cars and trucks(1)

490.035   483.410 36.7 -1.4  

Motor fuel

293.865 304.988 366.194 53.7 24.6 20.1

Gasoline (all types)

290.790 301.780 362.173 53.6 24.5 20.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

282.623 293.675 353.109 54.2 24.9 20.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

310.998 320.775 382.582 54.6 23.0 19.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

301.359 310.154 367.482 49.1 21.9 18.5

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

           

Medical care

714.612   723.561 3.8 1.3  

Recreation(5)

117.206   117.281 2.0 0.1  

Education and communication(5)

176.258   175.660 0.9 -0.3  

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

1,433.865   1,433.865 0.8 0.0  

Other goods and services

556.021   563.943 8.0 1.4  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

216.661   224.796 13.2 3.8  

Commodities less food and beverages

172.623   181.196 17.8 5.0  

Nondurables less food and beverages

214.905   238.609 22.7 11.0  

Durables

129.797   129.251 13.9 -0.4  

Services

384.053   387.526 4.5 0.9  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

279.780   287.607 9.2 2.8  

All items less medical care

288.953   294.493 7.6 1.9  

Commodities less food

176.604   185.061 16.9 4.8  

Nondurables

256.708   271.758 13.6 5.9  

Nondurables less food

217.785   240.012 20.7 10.2  

Services less rent of shelter(3)

412.668   419.615 4.9 1.7  

Services less medical care services

360.203   363.235 4.6 0.8  

Energy

298.633 306.464 342.958 36.9 14.8 11.9

All items less energy

310.180   313.115 5.4 0.9  

All items less food and energy

312.346   314.943 5.2 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: Wednesday, April 13, 2022