News Release Information
Friday, April 10, 2020
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Item and Group||Indexes||Percent change from-|
All items (December 1977=100)
Food and beverages
Food at home
Cereal and bakery products
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Dairy and related products
Fruits and vegetables
Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials
Other food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence
Owners' equiv. rent of residences(1)
Owners' equiv. rent of primary residence(1)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles(2)
Used cars and trucks
Gasoline (all types)
Motor vehicle insurance(5)
Medical care commodities
Medical care services
Education and communication(2)
Tuition, other school fees, and child care(5)
Other goods and services
Commodity and service group
Commodities less food and beverages
Nondurables less food and beverages
Nondurables less food, beverages, and apparel
Rent of shelter(1)
Special aggregate indexes
All items less medical care
All items less food
All items less shelter
Commodities less food
Nondurables less food
Nondurables less food and apparel
Services less rent of shelter(1)
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy
Commodities less food and energy commodities
Services less energy services
- Data not available.
Last Modified Date: Friday, April 10, 2020