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15-26-DAL
Friday, January 16, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Houston-Galveston-Brazoria – December 2014

Area prices fall 1.2 percent during two-month period, up 1.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Houston area fell 1.2 percent in November and December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that the decline was primarily the result of falling energy prices, particularly a 20.6-percent drop in gasoline costs. A decrease in the index for all items less food and energy (down 0.3 percent) also contributed, while food prices were unchanged during the period. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, short-term changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

During the 12 months ended in December 2014, the all items CPI-U advanced 1.1 percent. This was the slowest annual rate of increase since the year ended in April 2013 when prices rose 0.7 percent. Prices for all items less food and energy rose at a 2.3-percent pace. (See chart 1.)

Food

Local food prices were unchanged in November and December, after increasing 0.7 percent in September and October. Movements among the two components of the index were markedly different as prices for food at home (grocery store prices) fell 0.5 percent while prices for food away from home rose 0.7 percent.

From December 2013 to December 2014, the food index advanced 3.2 percent, reflecting the combined effects of a 3.3-percent price rise at grocery stores and a 3.0-percent price rise for food away from home.

Energy

The energy index fell 10.6 percent in November and December, after registering a 4.9-percent decline in September and October. The current decline was primarily the result of a 20.6-percent decrease in gasoline prices. This was the largest negative two-month change for gasoline since November and December 2008 (-47.4 percent). Partially offsetting the gasoline decrease, electricity prices rose 4.8 percent and natural gas costs were unchanged during the period.

During the year ended in December 2014, the energy index decreased 11.1 percent as a result of lower motor fuel costs, as gasoline prices fell 22.9 percent – the fastest annual price decline recorded since the year ended in September 2009 (-31.6 percent). Also contributing to the overall energy decline were lower natural gas prices, down 2.9 percent during the period. In contrast, electricity prices rose 9.7 percent over the year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy fell 0.3 percent in November and December, after rising 0.9 percent in September and October. A 9.1-percent decrease in apparel prices had the greatest impact on the current decline, though a decrease in the index for recreation also contributed (down 0.6 percent). Partially offsetting these declines, prices rose for shelter (0.6 percent), education and communication (0.6 percent), and medical care (0.4 percent).

During the year ended in December 2014, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent. The biggest factor by far in the annual increase was a 4.3-percent advance in shelter costs, though higher prices for other goods and services (3.0 percent), education and communication (2.6 percent), and medical care (1.0 percent) also contributed. Countering a portion of these increases, apparel prices fell 9.4 percent over the year.

The February 2015 Consumer Price Index for All Items for Houston-Galveston-Brazoria will be released on March 24, 2015.


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 89 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 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 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 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/homch17_a.htm.

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 Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, Texas, Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) includes Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller Counties.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods,
Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, TX (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and GroupIndexesPercent change from -
 
Oct.
2014
Nov.
2014
Dec.
2014
Dec.
2013
Oct.
2014
Nov.
2014

All items

214.791 212.1691.1-1.2 

All items (1967 = 100)

688.912 680.503   

Food and beverages

221.839 221.9763.00.1 

Food

221.706 221.8133.20.0 

Food at home

224.345221.201223.2163.3-0.50.9

Food away from home

214.266 215.8383.00.7 

Alcoholic beverages

213.729 214.3190.20.3 

Housing

197.960 199.3324.30.7 

Shelter

231.138231.762232.4964.30.60.3

Rent of primary residence (1)

221.527223.405224.6525.21.40.6

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1) (2)

213.904215.069216.1944.01.10.5

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2)

213.904215.069216.1944.01.10.5

Fuels and utilities

174.489 179.6126.22.9 

Household energy

160.521158.285166.7837.33.95.4

Energy services (1) (3)

157.542155.362163.8637.54.05.5

Electricity (1)

157.951155.332165.5259.74.86.6

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

142.941142.967142.955-2.90.00.0

Household furnishings and operations

122.678 121.5133.0-0.9 

Apparel

202.332 184.005-9.4-9.1 

Transportation

187.543 176.934-4.9-5.7 

Private transportation

185.978 175.435-5.0-5.7 

Motor fuel

269.669246.209216.116-22.1-19.9-12.2

Gasoline (all types)

269.304244.924213.788-22.9-20.6-12.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

277.012251.032218.370-23.6-21.2-13.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

276.724253.910224.406-21.0-18.9-11.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

269.363250.143222.083-18.8-17.6-11.2

Medical care

434.273 436.0021.00.4 

Recreation (6)

106.633 105.9701.7-0.6 

Education and communication (6)

123.296 124.0572.60.6 

Other goods and services

385.347 385.8293.00.1 
 

COMMODITY AND SERVICE GROUP

 

Commodities

181.716 174.919-2.6-3.7 

Commodities less food and beverages

160.637 151.251-5.6-5.8 

Nondurables less food and beverages

222.312 200.642-10.7-9.7 

Durables

105.609 105.1801.6-0.4 

Services

249.389 250.9663.90.6 
 

SPECIAL AGGREGATE INDEXES

 

All items less shelter

208.499 204.423-0.1-2.0 

All items less medical care

203.692 200.9841.1-1.3 

Commodities less food

162.729 153.540-5.5-5.6 

Nondurables

222.896 211.823-4.2-5.0 

Nondurables less food

221.695 201.283-10.1-9.2 

Services less rent of shelter (2)

267.620 269.6313.80.8 

Services less medical care services

230.556 232.0964.20.7 

Energy

211.786199.374189.281-11.1-10.6-5.1

All items less energy

217.660 217.0892.4-0.3 

All items less food and energy

216.796 216.1022.3-0.3 

(1) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(2) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) Prior to January 2011 this series was titled Gas (piped) and electricity.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, January 16, 2015