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19-277-BOS
Thursday, February 14, 2019

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Cambridge-Newton — January 2019

Area prices up 0.5 percent over two months; up 2.5 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area increased 0.5 percent in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that this was mainly attributable to higher prices within all items less food and energy, up 0.8 percent and to a lesser extent higher food prices, up 1.0 percent. Lower energy prices, down 3.7 percent partially offset the increase. (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 2.5 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher prices within all items less food and energy up 2.9 percent.(See chart 1.)

Food

Food prices edged up 1.0 percent since November, mainly due to higher food at home prices, up 1.1 percent. Restaurant prices, up 1.0 percent also contributed to the increase. Higher food at home prices were mainly driven by higher prices for fruits and vegetables, up 3.2 percent.

Food prices increased 1.9 percent over the year, mainly due to both higher food at home prices, up 1.6 percent, and food away from home prices, up 2.4 percent.

Energy

The energy index decreased 3.7 percent over the two months, mainly driven by lower gasoline prices, down 11.2 percent. Higher electricity prices, and utility (piped) gas prices, up 3.4 percent and 2.6 percent respectively, partially moderated the decrease.

Energy prices were down 0.9 percent from a year ago, largely attributable to gasoline prices, down 2.8 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased from November (0.8 percent) mainly due to higher shelter costs. Within shelter, higher prices in lodging away from home, mainly drove the increase. Owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 0.6 percent also contributed to the increase.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.9 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 4.7 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 4.3 percent and to a lesser extent, higher rent of primary residence, up 4.4 percent led the increase.

 CPI-W

In January, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 277.969. The CPI-W increased 0.2 percent over two months and increased 2.3 percent over the year.

 

The March 2019 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 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
Nov.
2018
Dec.
2018
Jan.
2019
Jan.
2018
Nov.
2018
Dec.
2018

All items

277.632   278.976 2.5 0.5  

All items (1967 = 100)

806.946   810.852      

Food and beverages

264.467   267.429 1.5 1.1  

Food

266.382   269.169 1.9 1.0  

Food at home

249.715 252.155 252.353 1.6 1.1 0.1

Cereal and bakery products

292.317   301.429 2.4 3.1  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

255.373   252.469 1.6 -1.1  

Dairy and related products

287.058   286.537 8.0 -0.2  

Fruits and vegetables

314.498   324.455 -1.2 3.2  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

163.407   165.354 1.4 1.2  

Other food at home

199.126   199.768 0.8 0.3  

Food away from home

295.534   298.580 2.4 1.0  

Alcoholic beverages

246.882   251.903 -3.4 2.0  

Housing

287.035   291.405 3.7 1.5  

Shelter

338.854 341.240 343.856 4.7 1.5 0.8

Rent of primary residence(2)

355.082 357.167 358.078 4.4 0.8 0.3

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

363.452 365.338 365.737 4.3 0.6 0.1

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

363.452 365.338 365.737 4.3 0.6 0.1

Fuels and utilities

305.274   309.637 0.8 1.4  

Household energy

258.417 258.098 263.003 0.4 1.8 1.9

Energy services(2)

270.334 272.870 278.714 2.1 3.1 2.1

Electricity(2)

303.965 303.965 314.163 0.1 3.4 3.4

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

203.570 208.866 208.960 5.8 2.6 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

123.966   126.587 -1.8 2.1  

Apparel

141.282   135.026 0.9 -4.4  

Transportation

196.925   192.302 0.9 -2.3  

Private transportation

197.966   193.538 0.8 -2.2  

New and used motor vehicles(5)

104.487   106.942 3.0 2.3  

New Vehicles(1)

207.482   216.023 0.4 4.1  

Used cars and trucks(1)

315.519   317.799 2.3 0.7  

Motor fuel

241.684 229.707 214.604 -2.8 -11.2 -6.6

Gasoline (all types)

238.902 227.045 212.094 -2.8 -11.2 -6.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

232.165 220.334 205.441 -2.9 -11.5 -6.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

252.895 241.158 227.478 -1.3 -10.1 -5.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

247.102 237.355 224.673 -2.3 -9.1 -5.3

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

           

Medical care

656.108   655.374 1.2 -0.1  

Recreation(5)

123.936   124.490 2.8 0.4  

Education and communication(5)

166.050   164.719 0.5 -0.8  

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

1,348.743   1,348.743 2.9 0.0  

Other goods and services

489.490   498.150 2.6 1.8  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

192.091   190.988 -0.7 -0.6  

Commodities less food and beverages

154.244   151.331 -2.3 -1.9  

Nondurables less food and beverages

204.755   196.487 -1.9 -4.0  

Durables

106.392   108.044 -2.9 1.6  

Services

354.920   358.347 4.0 1.0  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

256.108   255.724 1.1 -0.1  

All items less medical care

263.032   264.422 2.6 0.5  

Commodities less food

158.004   155.359 -2.4 -1.7  

Nondurables

233.740   231.024 0.0 -1.2  

Nondurables less food

206.851   199.578 -2.1 -3.5  

Services less rent of shelter(3)

391.396   392.542 3.0 0.3  

Services less medical care services

333.589   337.062 4.1 1.0  

Energy

249.278 243.899 240.079 -0.9 -3.7 -1.6

All items less energy

284.295   286.599 2.7 0.8  

All items less food and energy

288.233   290.462 2.9 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: Thursday, February 14, 2019