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18-1002-BOS
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Cambridge-Newton — May 2018

Area prices unchanged over two months; up 3.2 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area was unchanged (0.0 percent) in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that this was attributable to higher prices within all items less food and energy which was mostly offset by lower energy prices and to a lesser extent lower food prices. (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 3.2 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher prices within all items less food and energy up 2.5 percent and to a lesser extent higher energy prices paid by area consumers, up 13.8 percent(See chart 1.).

Food

Food prices edged down 0.1 percent since March mainly due to lower food at home prices, down 0.4 percent which was partially offset by higher prices in food away from home, up 0.3 percent. Lower food at home prices were mainly driven by lower prices for fruits and vegetables; and cereals and bakery products.

Food prices increased 1.7 percent over the year, mainly due to higher food away from home prices, up 2.6 percent, and to a lesser extent, food at home prices, up 1.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index decreased 2.8 percent over the two months, mainly driven by lower utility piped gas prices down 33.6 percent, which was mainly offset by higher gasoline prices, up 12.4 percent. Lower electricity prices down 3.9 percent also contributed to the decrease.

Energy prices were up 13.8 percent from a year ago, largely attributable to gasoline prices, up 23.5 percent. Higher prices for electricity also contributed to the overall increase, up 6.3 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased from March (0.3 percent) mainly due to higher shelter costs, up 0.8 percent. Within shelter, higher prices in owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 0.7 percent and rent of primary residence, up 1.0 percent drove the increase. Lower prices for new vehicles and recreation, down 3.4 percent and 1.2 percent respectively, partially offset the increase.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.5 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 4.6 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 4.4 percent and rent of primary residence, up 5.6 percent led the increase. To a lesser extent, higher prices for education and communication, up 4.2 percent, also contributed to the increase.

CPI-W

In May, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 273.591. The CPI-W was unchanged over two months and increased 3.4 percent over the year.

The July 2018 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Friday, August 10, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).


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 category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Mar.
2018
Apr.
2018
May
2018
May
2017
Mar.
2018
Apr.
2018

All items

274.591 274.668 3.2 0.0

All items (1967 = 100)

798.105 798.331

Food and beverages

263.886 263.450 1.6 -0.2

Food

265.233 264.892 1.7 -0.1

Food at home

250.448 248.860 249.383 1.2 -0.4 0.2

Cereal and bakery products

297.650 292.255 -1.8

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

253.515 255.324 0.7

Dairy and related products

271.129 269.595 -0.6

Fruits and vegetables

335.151 329.680 -1.6

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

162.669 160.060 -1.6

Other food at home

195.212 197.815 1.3

Food away from home

291.045 291.991 2.6 0.3

Alcoholic beverages

252.814 251.274 -0.4 -0.6

Housing

283.973 282.202 4.5 -0.6

Shelter

331.644 333.021 334.416 4.6 0.8 0.4

Rent of primary residence(2)

344.681 346.478 348.172 5.6 1.0 0.5

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

351.673 352.859 354.210 4.4 0.7 0.4

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

351.673 352.859 354.210 4.4 0.7 0.4

Fuels and utilities

316.204 280.596 6.0 -11.3

Household energy

270.658 269.883 236.437 6.8 -12.6 -12.4

Energy services(2)

286.583 284.780 242.149 2.9 -15.5 -15.0

Electricity(2)

307.182 304.010 295.163 6.3 -3.9 -2.9

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

233.686 233.686 155.159 0.8 -33.6 -33.6

Household furnishings and operations

128.925 127.078 -1.3 -1.4

Apparel

139.815 140.783 -3.9 0.7

Transportation

192.480 198.836 5.7 3.3

Private transportation

193.845 198.693 6.4 2.5

New and used motor vehicles(5)

104.950 102.925 -1.9

New Vehicles(1)

212.849 205.615 -3.4

Used cars and trucks(1)

319.657 317.195 -0.8

Motor fuel

224.238 236.133 252.026 23.6 12.4 6.7

Gasoline (all types)

221.657 233.433 249.162 23.5 12.4 6.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

215.142 227.094 242.607 24.2 12.8 6.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

234.880 243.307 258.530 20.6 10.1 6.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

231.507 240.078 254.673 18.7 10.0 6.1

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Medical care

649.340 649.745 2.2 0.1

Recreation(5)

121.589 120.157 -3.4 -1.2

Education and communication(5)

165.292 164.946 4.2 -0.2

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

1,317.574 1,317.577 0.0

Other goods and services

483.742 486.417 2.5 0.6

Commodity and service group

Commodities

192.964 193.580 2.1 0.3

Commodities less food and beverages

155.752 156.827 2.5 0.7

Nondurables less food and beverages

201.833 208.402 5.9 3.3

Durables

111.528 107.992 -2.2 -3.2

Services

348.530 348.157 3.8 -0.1

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

254.992 253.770 2.3 -0.5

All items less medical care

260.137 260.204 3.2 0.0

Commodities less food

159.672 160.659 2.4 0.6

Nondurables

231.978 235.081 3.5 1.3

Nondurables less food

204.580 210.535 5.4 2.9

Services less rent of shelter(3)

386.058 380.963 2.5 -1.3

Services less medical care services

327.460 327.050 3.9 -0.1

Energy

248.537 253.271 241.495 13.8 -2.8 -4.6

All items less energy

281.003 281.716 2.4 0.3

All items less food and energy

284.565 285.461 2.5 0.3

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: Tuesday, June 12, 2018