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News Release Information

24-277-BOS
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (617) 565-4141

Consumer Price Index, Boston-Cambridge-Newton — January 2024

Area prices up 0.7 percent over two months and 2.0 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area rose 0.7 percent for the two months ending in January 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner William J. Sibley noted that the latest increase reflected higher prices for shelter and food that were partially offset by lower prices for energy. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U advanced 2.0 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The index for all items less food and energy rose 3.0 percent over the year. Food prices increased 4.7 percent. In contrast, energy prices fell 13.8 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices rose 0.7 percent for the two months ending in January. Prices for food at home advanced 1.2 percent for this period, with prices rising in five of the six grocery categories. Among the groceries with higher prices were tomatoes and nonfrozen noncarbonated juices and drinks. Prices for food away from home inched up 0.1 percent.

Over the year, food prices increased 4.7 percent. Higher prices for full-service meals and snacks contributed to an 8.3-percent advance in prices for food away from home. Prices for food at home rose 3.1 percent.

Energy

For the two months ending in January, the energy index declined 2.0 percent, driven by a 7.8-percent decline in gasoline prices. The decline was tempered by a 2.1-percent rise in prices for household energy, where lower prices for natural gas (-1.3 percent) and fuel oil were outweighed by a 4.1-percent advance in electricity prices.

Energy prices fell 13.8 percent over the year, led by lower prices for household energy (-16.9 percent). The 12-month percentage decline was the largest recorded since October 2009. Within household energy, prices declined for electricity (-23.8 percent), natural gas (-6.1 percent), and fuel oil. Gasoline prices were down 5.1 percent from last January.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.0 percent over the latest two-month period. A 1.8-percent increase in shelter prices was led by higher prices for lodging away from home. Owners’ equivalent rent rose 1.0 percent, and residential rent increased 1.2 percent. Prices also rose for apparel (5.0 percent), household furnishings and operations (1.9 percent) and motor vehicle insurance. These increases were partially offset by lower prices for new and used motor vehicles (-2.7 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 3.0 percent. The increase was led by a 7.0-percent rise in shelter prices. Within the shelter component, owners’ equivalent rent increased 6.5 percent, and residential rent rose 7.3 percent. The increases in shelter were partially offset by price reductions in medical care (-4.8 percent) and recreation (-5.6 percent).

Table A. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

0.6 2.2 0.7 0.5 1.6 6.3 1.1 6.4 0.7 2.0

March

0.1 1.8 0.9 1.3 1.9 7.3 0.2 4.7

May

-1.0 0.6 0.8 3.2 1.1 7.5 0.0 3.6

July

0.2 0.8 1.2 4.3 0.7 7.0 -0.1 2.8

September

0.1 0.6 -0.1 4.0 0.9 8.1 0.7 2.6

November

0.4 0.4 1.7 5.3 0.6 7.0 0.4 2.4

The March 2024 Consumer Price Index for the Boston area is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.


Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index for Boston is published bi-monthly. 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 93 percent of the total U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. 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, 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 6,000 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; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000.  Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cpi/.

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, MA-NH Core Based Statistical Area covered in this release is comprised of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk Counties in Massachusetts and Rockingham and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire.

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH, not seasonally adjusted
(1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group Indexes Percent change from-
Nov.
2023
Jan.
2024
Jan.
2023
Nov.
2023

Expenditure category

All items

328.362 330.746 2.0 0.7

All items (1967=100)

954.393 961.323    

Food and beverages

344.848 347.112 4.7 0.7

Food

349.388 351.809 4.7 0.7

Food at home

315.048 318.986 3.1 1.2

Cereals and bakery products

389.434 387.804 5.0 -0.4

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

318.670 325.831 -1.0 2.2

Dairy and related products

367.507 367.768 3.0 0.1

Fruits and vegetables

394.853 395.362 0.6 0.1

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

205.433 210.941 11.5 2.7

Other food at home

245.933 250.442 3.5 1.8

Food away from home

411.791 412.066 8.3 0.1

Alcoholic beverages

299.016 299.844 4.8 0.3

Housing

352.782 359.030 3.5 1.8

Shelter

413.372 420.771 7.0 1.8

Rent of primary residence

436.186 441.301 7.3 1.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

448.099 452.404 6.5 1.0

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

448.099 452.404 6.5 1.0

Fuels and utilities

406.958 413.937 -14.7 1.7

Household energy

339.990 346.992 -16.9 2.1

Energy services

360.407 368.776 -18.8 2.3

Electricity

385.429 401.423 -23.8 4.1

Utility (piped) gas service

298.910 294.911 -6.1 -1.3

Household furnishings and operations

148.439 151.274 -2.2 1.9

Apparel

132.579 139.259 -0.5 5.0

Transportation

233.421 228.874 0.8 -1.9

Private transportation

243.645 238.568 1.3 -2.1

New and used motor vehicles(3)

140.406 136.601 1.8 -2.7

New vehicles(1)

242.370 241.432 0.4 -0.4

Used cars and trucks(1)

438.667 423.358 -1.9 -3.5

Motor fuel

305.745 281.930 -5.3 -7.8

Gasoline (all types)

302.759 279.030 -5.1 -7.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

291.052 267.257 -5.4 -8.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

340.488 317.968 -4.0 -6.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

337.423 317.350 -3.5 -5.9

Medical care

723.438 721.428 -4.8 -0.3

Recreation(3)

116.031 114.882 -5.6 -1.0

Education and communication(3)

175.124 175.115 -0.2 0.0

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)

1,524.089 1,514.234 3.4 -0.6

Other goods and services

640.511 640.772 8.2 0.0

Commodity and service group

All items

328.362 330.746 2.0 0.7

Commodities

229.563 229.769 0.9 0.1

Commodities less food and beverages

172.840 172.203 -2.3 -0.4

Nondurables less food and beverages

227.084 225.840 -1.8 -0.5

Durables

123.040 122.909 -2.9 -0.1

Services

417.537 421.873 2.6 1.0

Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

313.217 315.733 2.6 0.8

All items less shelter

296.810 296.948 -1.0 0.0

Commodities less food

177.770 177.182 -1.9 -0.3

Nondurables

284.593 285.118 2.1 0.2

Nondurables less food

231.318 230.239 -1.2 -0.5

Services less rent of shelter(2)

438.031 437.578 -3.2 -0.1

Services less medical care services

395.626 400.119 3.5 1.1

Energy

322.526 316.231 -13.8 -2.0

All items less energy

334.126 337.146 3.2 0.9

All items less food and energy

333.123 336.290 3.0 1.0

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a January 1978=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a November 1982=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

 

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2024