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News Release Information

20-608-ATL
Friday, April 10, 2020

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Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (404) 893-4220

Consumer Price Index, South Region – March 2020

Prices in the South down 0.1 percent over the month; up 1.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the South declined 0.1 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The decline in the all items CPI-U was attributed to a 3.9-percent drop in the energy index. From February to March, the index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.1 percent, while the food index rose 0.5 percent. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

The all items CPI-U for the South increased 1.1 percent since March 2019. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.8 percent over the past year, while the food index increased 1.5 percent. In contrast, the energy index fell 7.7 percent for the 12 months ending March. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Food

The food index rose 0.5 percent in March, led by a 0.7-percent increase in the food at home index. The food away from home index also rose in March, up 0.2 percent.   

The food index increased 1.5 percent for the 12 months ending March, reflecting increases in the food away from home (2.4 percent) and food at home (0.8 percent) indexes.  

Energy

The energy index declined 3.9 percent in March, led by a 7.3-percent drop in the gasoline index. The electricity and the utility (piped) gas service indexes also declined in March, down 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.     

The energy index fell 7.7 percent from March 2019 to March 2020, reflecting a 13.9-percent drop in the gasoline index. Over the past year, the electricity index declined 0.8 percent and the utility (piped) gas service index declined 3.2 percent.  

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in March. Several indexes increased over the month, most notably used cars and trucks (2.4 percent) and shelter (0.2 percent). In contrast, the index for new vehicles declined 0.6 percent in March.   

Since March 2019, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.8 percent, reflecting increases in the shelter (2.9 percent) and medical care services (4.4 percent) indexes.

Geographic divisions

Additional price indexes are now available for the three divisions of the South. The all items CPI-U for the South Atlantic and West South Central divisions declined in March, down 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. The all items index in the East South Central division was unchanged in March.  

Over the year, the all items index advanced 1.3 percent in the South Atlantic division. The all items index rose 0.9 percent in the West South Central division and 0.4 percent in the East South Central division.

Table A. South region CPI-U 1-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month2017201820192020
1-month12-month1-month12-month1-month12-month1-month12-month

January

0.52.60.51.80.21.20.32.3

February

0.22.80.62.10.51.10.21.9

March

0.02.20.22.30.71.6-0.11.1

April

0.22.00.42.40.51.8

May

0.01.70.32.7-0.11.4

June

0.21.50.22.7-0.11.1

July

-0.21.60.02.90.31.4

August

0.41.9-0.12.4-0.11.4

September

0.72.40.01.70.01.3

October

-0.22.00.22.10.21.3

November

-0.12.1-0.31.90.01.6

December

-0.11.8-0.51.50.02.1

The Consumer Price Index for April 2020 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on March 2020 Consumer Price Index Data

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) program suspended data collection by personal visit on March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in March was affected by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the number of prices being considered temporarily unavailable and imputed. While the CPI program attempted to collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month. Additional information is available at www.bls.gov/bls/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-bls-price-indexes.htm#CPI. Specific information about the impact of COVID-19 on March 2020 CPI data collection is available at www.bls.gov/cpi/additional-resources/covid19-statement-march-2020.htm.


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 93 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 29 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 South region is comprised of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

 Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods
South (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Item and Group

IndexesPercent change from-
Jan.
2020
Feb.
2020
Mar.
2020
Mar.
2019
Jan.
2020
Feb.
2020

Expenditure category

All Items

248.005248.412248.1361.10.1-0.1

All items (December 1977=100)

402.298402.958402.511---

Food and beverages

257.296257.795258.9341.50.60.4

Food

258.570259.024260.2151.50.60.5

Food at home

240.809241.229242.8220.80.80.7

Cereal and bakery products

280.071281.414281.210-0.10.4-0.1

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

247.533247.291249.7832.90.91.0

Dairy and related products

222.527223.818224.9331.91.10.5

Fruits and vegetables

286.252283.229283.544-3.5-0.90.1

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials

170.384170.485172.0120.11.00.9

Other food at home

210.989213.100215.2802.22.01.0

Food away from home

287.598288.107288.7352.40.40.2

Alcoholic beverages

239.176240.292240.7102.00.60.2

Housing

247.349247.815247.9582.30.20.1

Shelter

286.674287.476287.9562.90.40.2

Rent of primary residence

300.887301.558302.8063.70.60.4

Owners' equiv. rent of residences(1)

288.886289.347289.8943.10.30.2

Owners' equiv. rent of primary residence(1)

288.902289.360289.9083.10.30.2

Fuels and utilities

238.495237.961236.851-0.3-0.7-0.5

Household energy

190.264189.566188.293-1.2-1.0-0.7

Energy services

190.381189.692188.514-1.1-1.0-0.6

Electricity

188.198188.118187.199-0.8-0.5-0.5

Utility (piped) gas service

189.182184.500181.705-3.2-4.0-1.5

Household furnishings and operations

125.774125.751125.5421.5-0.2-0.2

Apparel

128.299132.851132.705-2.23.4-0.1

Transportation

207.755206.599203.615-2.9-2.0-1.4

Private transportation

207.100205.275202.913-2.8-2.0-1.2

New and used motor vehicles(2)

101.036101.455101.944-0.60.90.5

New vehicles

153.955154.110153.177-0.9-0.5-0.6

New cars and trucks(2)(3)

104.814104.926104.288-0.9-0.5-0.6

New cars(3)

153.055153.511152.313-1.4-0.5-0.8

Used cars and trucks

137.395138.769142.1270.13.42.4

Motor fuel

211.955200.417185.851-13.8-12.3-7.3

Gasoline (all types)

210.572199.037184.533-13.9-12.4-7.3

Unleaded regular(3)

204.955193.413178.781-14.5-12.8-7.6

Unleaded midgrade(3)(4)

236.246224.535211.202-11.2-10.6-5.9

Unleaded premium(3)

235.303225.289213.666-9.3-9.2-5.2

Motor vehicle insurance(5)

962.096965.423969.2901.50.70.4

Medical care

481.849482.705483.9833.30.40.3

Medical care commodities

353.095353.282352.718-1.1-0.1-0.2

Medical care services

525.462526.543528.4414.40.60.4

Professional services

367.264367.522367.8430.30.20.1

Recreation(2)

121.506122.065122.3440.40.70.2

Education and communication(2)

133.885133.869133.8111.2-0.10.0

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(5)

1,358.4831,358.6351,360.6222.30.20.1

Other goods and services

436.000437.594439.0292.00.70.3

Commodity and service group

All Items

248.005248.412248.1361.10.1-0.1

Commodities

183.681183.639182.934-1.1-0.4-0.4

Commodities less food and beverages

149.525149.291147.956-2.7-1.0-0.9

Nondurables less food and beverages

195.344194.299190.260-4.4-2.6-2.1

Nondurables less food, beverages, and apparel

236.495232.392226.145-5.1-4.4-2.7

Durables

107.109107.364107.723-0.90.60.3

Services

312.883313.766313.9562.40.30.1

Rent of shelter(1)

294.537295.355295.9182.90.50.2

Transportation services

360.144364.876361.9560.70.5-0.8

Other services

350.520350.852351.3161.50.20.1

Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

235.275235.658235.3070.80.0-0.1

All items less food

246.123246.523246.0241.00.0-0.2

All items less shelter

233.998234.255233.6880.2-0.1-0.2

Commodities less food

152.205152.003150.706-2.5-1.0-0.9

Nondurables

224.621224.314222.752-1.2-0.8-0.7

Nondurables less food

197.567196.652192.887-4.0-2.4-1.9

Nondurables less food and apparel

235.545231.932226.317-4.5-3.9-2.4

Services less rent of shelter(1)

345.797346.791346.5221.90.2-0.1

Services less medical care services

293.816294.677294.7332.20.30.0

Energy

196.064190.334182.901-7.7-6.7-3.9

All items less energy

254.643255.665256.1031.80.60.2

All items less food and energy

254.372255.494255.8031.80.60.1

Commodities less food and energy commodities

145.218146.333146.588-0.60.90.2

Energy commodities

215.720204.179189.511-13.7-12.1-7.2

Services less energy services

325.851326.898327.2292.70.40.1

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(3) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(4) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(5) Indexes on a December 1977=100 base.

- Data not available.
Regions defined as the four Census regions. South includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 10, 2020