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18-1310-BOS
Friday, August 10, 2018

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

Area prices up 0.3 percent over two months; up 3.4 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area increased 0.3 percent in July, 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 0.3 percent and to a lesser extent higher food prices, up 0.7 percent. Lower energy prices particularly offset the overall 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 3.4 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher prices within all items less food and energy up 2.7 percent and to a lesser extent higher energy prices paid by area consumers, up 14.8 percent(See chart 1.).

Food

Food prices edged up 0.7 percent since May, mainly due to higher food at home and restaurant prices up 0.7 percent each. Higher food at home prices were mainly driven by higher prices for fruits and vegetables; and nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials which was mainly offset by other food at home prices.

Food prices increased 1.4 percent over the year, mainly due to higher food away from home prices, up 2.2 percent, and to a lesser extent, food at home prices, up 1.0 percent.

Energy

The energy index decreased 1.0 percent over the two months, mainly driven by lower electricity prices, down 2.5 percent and to a lesser extent, utility piped gas prices down 1.3 percent.

Energy prices were up 14.8 percent from a year ago, largely attributable to gasoline prices, up 27.6 percent and to a lesser extent electricity prices, up 4.6 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased from May (0.3 percent) mainly due to higher shelter costs, up 0.6 percent which was offset by lower apparel costs. Within shelter, higher prices in owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 0.5 percent and lodging away from home drove the increase. Higher recreation and new and used motor vehicles costs also contributed to the increase, up 2.2 percent and 3.1 percent respectively.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.7 percent, with higher shelter costs being the main driver of the increase, up 4.3 percent. Within shelter, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 4.0 percent and rent of primary residence, up 4.8 percent led the increase. To a lesser extent, higher prices for education and communication, up 4.6 percent, also contributed to the increase.

 CPI-W

In July, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 274.186. The CPI-W increased 0.2 percent over two months and increased 3.5 percent over the year.

The September 2018 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Thursday, October 11, 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
May
2018
Jun.
2018
Jul.
2018
Jul.
2017
May
2018
Jun.
2018

All items

274.668   275.402 3.4 0.3  

All items (1967 = 100)

798.331   800.463      

Food and beverages

263.450   264.699 1.3 0.5  

Food

264.892   266.755 1.4 0.7  

Food at home

249.383 248.792 251.117 1.0 0.7 0.9

Cereal and bakery products

292.255   292.678   0.1  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

255.324   255.168   -0.1  

Dairy and related products

269.595   277.616   3.0  

Fruits and vegetables

329.680   339.768   3.1  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

160.060   166.914   4.3  

Other food at home

197.815   191.362   -3.3  

Food away from home

291.991   294.080 2.2 0.7  

Alcoholic beverages

251.274   245.495 -0.4 -2.3  

Housing

282.202   283.437 4.2 0.4  

Shelter

334.416 335.400 336.539 4.3 0.6 0.3

Rent of primary residence(2)

348.172 347.370 348.095 4.8 0.0 0.2

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

354.210 356.026 356.094 4.0 0.5 0.0

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

354.210 356.026 356.094 4.0 0.5 0.0

Fuels and utilities

280.596   276.685 5.1 -1.4  

Household energy

236.437 236.251 232.308 5.9 -1.7 -1.7

Energy services(2)

242.149 242.192 236.999 0.9 -2.1 -2.1

Electricity(2)

295.163 295.163 287.766 4.6 -2.5 -2.5

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

155.159 155.249 153.190 -2.4 -1.3 -1.3

Household furnishings and operations

127.078   127.778 0.0 0.6  

Apparel

140.783   127.662 -6.6 -9.3  

Transportation

198.836   199.697 7.6 0.4  

Private transportation

198.693   201.471 9.3 1.4  

New and used motor vehicles(5)

102.925   106.101   3.1  

New Vehicles(1)

205.615   205.905   0.1  

Used cars and trucks(1)

317.195   321.191   1.3  

Motor fuel

252.026 254.713 251.903 27.7 0.0 -1.1

Gasoline (all types)

249.162 251.819 249.028 27.6 -0.1 -1.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

242.607 245.178 242.426 28.4 -0.1 -1.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

258.530 262.664 259.457 23.9 0.4 -1.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

254.673 257.268 254.763 21.9 0.0 -1.0

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

           

Medical care

649.745   654.220 2.4 0.7  

Recreation(5)

120.157   122.787 -1.0 2.2  

Education and communication(5)

164.946   165.467 4.6 0.3  

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

1,317.577   1,328.680   0.8  

Other goods and services

486.417   485.200 0.6 -0.3  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

193.580   192.396 2.4 -0.6  

Commodities less food and beverages

156.827   154.574 3.2 -1.4  

Nondurables less food and beverages

208.402   203.372 6.1 -2.4  

Durables

107.992   108.134 -0.8 0.1  

Services

348.157   350.516 3.9 0.7  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

253.770   253.854 2.8 0.0  

All items less medical care

260.204   260.817 3.4 0.2  

Commodities less food

160.659   158.275 3.0 -1.5  

Nondurables

235.081   233.156 3.5 -0.8  

Nondurables less food

210.535   205.474 5.6 -2.4  

Services less rent of shelter(3)

380.963   383.731 3.1 0.7  

Services less medical care services

327.050   329.169 3.9 0.6  

Energy

241.495 242.558 239.136 14.8 -1.0 -1.4

All items less energy

281.716   282.736 2.5 0.4  

All items less food and energy

285.461   286.340 2.7 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: Friday, August 10, 2018