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19-1491-BOS
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

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

Area prices remained unchanged over two months; up 2.0 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area remained unchanged 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 0.5 percent, and lower energy prices, down 4.7 percent, which primarily offset the increase. Lower food prices down 0.2 percent also 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 2.0 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher prices within all items less food and energy up 2.7 percent.(See chart 1.)

Food

Food prices decreased 0.2 percent since May, mainly due to lower food at home prices, down 0.9 percent. Higher food away from home prices, up 0.7 partially offset the decrease. Lower food at home prices were mainly driven by lower prices in nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials, and fruits and vegetables, down 3.5 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

Food prices increased 0.7 percent over the year, due to higher food away from home prices, up 2.0 percent. Partially offsetting this increase, were lower food at home or grocery store prices, down 0.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index decreased 4.7 percent over the two months, mainly driven by lower gasoline prices, down 4.4 percent. Lower prices in electricity and utility piped gas, down 4.5 percent and 7.1 percent respectively, also contributed to the decrease.

Energy prices were down 3.1 percent from a year ago, largely attributable to lower gasoline prices, down 6.3 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased from May (0.5 percent) mainly due to higher shelter costs, up 1.2 percent. Within shelter, higher local costs for lodging away from home, mainly contributed to the increase. To a lesser extent, higher costs for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 0.4 percent also contributed to the increase.  Lower apparel costs, down 5.2 percent partially offset the increase.

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 4.1 percent and to a lesser extent, higher rent of primary residence, up 3.5 percent led the increase. Higher medical care costs, up 4.7 percent, also contributed to the overall increase.

CPI-W

In July, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 279.164. The CPI-W decreased 0.1 percent over two months and increased 1.8 percent over the year.

The September 2019 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Cambridge-Newton is scheduled to be released on Thursday, October 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
May
2019
Jun.
2019
Jul.
2019
Jul.
2018
May
2019
Jun.
2019

All items

280.937   280.943 2.0 0.0  

All items (1967 = 100)

816.552   816.568      

Food and beverages

267.579   266.557 0.7 -0.4  

Food

269.182   268.511 0.7 -0.2  

Food at home

252.739 251.377 250.490 -0.2 -0.9 -0.4

Cereal and bakery products

294.265   293.263 0.2 -0.3  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

257.115   254.328 -0.3 -1.1  

Dairy and related products

288.302   288.100 3.8 -0.1  

Fruits and vegetables

327.179   320.883 -5.6 -1.9  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

167.415   161.517 -3.2 -3.5  

Other food at home

197.865   199.574 4.3 0.9  

Food away from home

297.931   300.065 2.0 0.7  

Alcoholic beverages

253.633   248.561 1.2 -2.0  

Housing

291.877   293.495 3.5 0.6  

Shelter

346.860 347.912 351.127 4.3 1.2 0.9

Rent of primary residence(2)

358.833 359.676 360.165 3.5 0.4 0.1

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

369.195 370.348 370.777 4.1 0.4 0.1

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

369.195 370.348 370.777 4.1 0.4 0.1

Fuels and utilities

289.596   276.917 0.1 -4.4  

Household energy

243.529 240.501 231.216 -0.5 -5.1 -3.9

Energy services(2)

251.696 250.211 238.298 0.5 -5.3 -4.8

Electricity(2)

303.198 303.614 289.590 0.6 -4.5 -4.6

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

165.557 161.961 153.736 0.4 -7.1 -5.1

Household furnishings and operations

128.072   127.251 -0.4 -0.6  

Apparel

135.571   128.545 0.7 -5.2  

Transportation

199.182   193.663 -3.0 -2.8  

Private transportation

199.107   194.449 -3.5 -2.3  

New and used motor vehicles(5)

104.010   103.497 -2.5 -0.5  

New Vehicles(1)

211.027   201.502 -2.1 -4.5  

Used cars and trucks(1)

317.849   329.714 2.7 3.7  

Motor fuel

246.923 236.420 236.165 -6.2 -4.4 -0.1

Gasoline (all types)

244.108 233.709 233.461 -6.3 -4.4 -0.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular(6)

237.526 226.846 226.587 -6.5 -4.6 -0.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(6)(7)

254.226 247.233 247.460 -4.6 -2.7 0.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium(6)

250.688 244.122 243.925 -4.3 -2.7 -0.1

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

           

Medical care

675.683   685.157 4.7 1.4  

Recreation(5)

123.545   124.290 1.2 0.6  

Education and communication(5)

164.903   166.789 0.8 1.1  

Tuition, other fees, and child care(1)

1,349.187   1,353.260 1.8 0.3  

Other goods and services

499.710   504.718 4.0 1.0  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

193.773   191.373 -0.5 -1.2  

Commodities less food and beverages

155.233   152.273 -1.5 -1.9  

Nondurables less food and beverages

205.434   200.095 -1.6 -2.6  

Durables

107.602   106.733 -1.3 -0.8  

Services

359.654   361.682 3.2 0.6  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

257.238   255.185 0.5 -0.8  

All items less medical care

265.811   265.534 1.8 -0.1  

Commodities less food

159.198   156.154 -1.3 -1.9  

Nondurables

235.617   232.417 -0.3 -1.4  

Nondurables less food

207.964   202.668 -1.4 -2.5  

Services less rent of shelter(3)

391.216   389.934 1.6 -0.3  

Services less medical care services

337.287   338.885 3.0 0.5  

Energy

243.239 236.987 231.691 -3.1 -4.7 -2.2

All items less energy

288.482   289.518 2.4 0.4  

All items less food and energy

292.670   294.000 2.7 0.5  

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, August 13, 2019