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19-2176-BOS
Thursday, December 12, 2019

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

Area prices increased by 0.7 percent over two months; up 2.1 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area increased 0.7 percent in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that this was mainly attributable to higher energy prices, up 5.7 percent.  To a lesser extent, higher prices for all items less food and energy, up 0.2 percent, and higher food prices, up 1.2 percent, contributed to 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 2.1 percent.  The increase was largely attributable to higher shelter costs within all items less food and energy, up 4.0 percent, and, to a lesser extent, higher food prices, up 1.3 percent.  Lower energy prices, down 3.9 percent, partially offset the increase.  (See chart 1.)

Food

Food prices increased 1.2 percent since September, mainly due to higher food at home or grocery store prices, up 2.0 percent.  Lower food away from home or restaurant prices, down 0.1 percent, partially offset the increase.  Higher food at home prices were mainly driven by higher fruits and vegetables prices, up 9.2 percent.

Food prices increased 1.3 percent over the year, mainly due to higher restaurant prices, up 2.0 percent, and, to a lesser extent, higher grocery store prices, up 0.8 percent.

Energy

The energy index increased 5.7 percent over the two months, mainly driven by higher utility (piped) gas prices, up 31.9 percent, as suppliers switched to winter rate schedules.  To a lesser extent, higher electricity prices, up 5.2 percent, also contributed.  Lower gasoline prices, down 1.5 percent, partially offset the increase in energy prices since September.

Energy prices were down 3.9 percent from a year ago, largely attributable to lower gasoline prices, down 7.7 percent.  Lower prices for utility (piped) gas, down 1.7 percent, contributed to the decrease to a lesser extent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up from September (0.2 percent) mainly due to higher medical care costs, up 1.6 percent.  To a lesser extent, higher costs for education and communication and new and used motor vehicles, up 1.0 and 1.2 percent, respectively, also contributed.  Lower apparel and household furnishings costs, down 6.4 and 1.4 percent, respectively, partially offset the overall increase.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.8 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 4.0 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 3.1 percent, and to a lesser extent, rent of primary residence, up 2.5 percent, led the increase. Higher medical care costs, up 6.9 and, to a lesser extent, higher costs within education and communication and household furnishings, up 3.2 and 4.2 percent, respectively, also contributed to the overall increase.

CPI-W

In November, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 282.162. The CPI-W increased 0.8 percent over two months and 1.7 percent over the year.

The January 2020 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Thursday, February 13, 2020, 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
Sep.
2019
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019
Nov.
2018
Sep.
2019
Oct.
2019

All items

281.603   283.526 2.1 0.7  

All items (1967 = 100)

818.486   824.078      

Food and beverages

265.357   268.345 1.5 1.1  

Food

266.716   269.785 1.3 1.2  

Food at home

246.839 252.522 251.768 0.8 2.0 -0.3

Cereal and bakery products

297.248   301.156 3.0 1.3  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

254.149   256.055 0.3 0.7  

Dairy and related products

280.547   284.327 -1.0 1.3  

Fruits and vegetables

292.654   319.517 1.6 9.2  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

162.724   162.868 -0.3 0.1  

Other food at home

201.911   200.391 0.6 -0.8  

Food away from home

301.568   301.331 2.0 -0.1  

Alcoholic beverages

254.180   256.274 3.8 0.8  

Housing

294.677   297.126 3.5 0.8  

Shelter

352.054 351.791 352.412 4.0 0.1 0.2

Rent of primary residence(2)

363.530 362.925 364.041 2.5 0.1 0.3

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

373.432 372.072 374.641 3.1 0.3 0.7

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

373.432 372.072 374.641 3.1 0.3 0.7

Fuels and utilities

275.390   302.251 -1.0 9.8  

Household energy

229.750 230.000 255.453 -1.1 11.2 11.1

Energy services(2)

237.064 237.064 268.780 -0.6 13.4 13.4

Electricity(2)

289.144 289.144 304.177 0.1 5.2 5.2

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

151.689 151.689 200.074 -1.7 31.9 31.9

Household furnishings and operations

130.939   129.152 4.2 -1.4  

Apparel

144.971   135.676 -4.0 -6.4  

Transportation

189.679   190.692 -3.2 0.5  

Private transportation

190.479   191.576 -3.2 0.6  

New and used motor vehicles(5)

101.698   102.885 -1.5 1.2  

New Vehicles(1)

201.777   205.236 -1.1 1.7  

Used cars and trucks(1)

318.547   316.390 0.3 -0.7  

Motor fuel

226.427 223.287 223.122 -7.7 -1.5 -0.1

Gasoline (all types)

223.820 220.707 220.542 -7.7 -1.5 -0.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

216.739 213.524 213.377 -8.1 -1.6 -0.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

240.597 237.255 237.105 -6.2 -1.5 -0.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

237.523 235.749 235.471 -4.7 -0.9 -0.1

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

           

Medical care

690.706   701.424 6.9 1.6  

Recreation(5)

121.200   122.090 -1.5 0.7  

Education and communication(5)

169.723   171.341 3.2 1.0  

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

1,394.175   1,394.215 3.4 0.0  

Other goods and services

502.331   504.393 3.0 0.4  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

191.569   191.527 -0.3 0.0  

Commodities less food and beverages

153.096   151.686 -1.7 -0.9  

Nondurables less food and beverages

201.886   198.167 -3.2 -1.8  

Durables

106.719   107.282 0.8 0.5  

Services

362.744   366.356 3.2 1.0  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

255.735   258.471 0.9 1.1  

All items less medical care

266.040   267.678 1.8 0.6  

Commodities less food

157.148   155.855 -1.4 -0.8  

Nondurables

232.730   232.324 -0.6 -0.2  

Nondurables less food

204.727   201.444 -2.6 -1.6  

Services less rent of shelter(3)

391.224   399.799 2.1 2.2  

Services less medical care services

339.300   342.394 2.6 0.9  

Energy

226.643 225.419 239.561 -3.9 5.7 6.3

All items less energy

290.696   291.668 2.6 0.3  

All items less food and energy

295.690   296.308 2.8 0.2  

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, December 12, 2019