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News Release Information

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Houston-Galveston-Brazoria – August 2015

Area prices rise 0.4 percent in July and August, up 0.3 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Houston area rose 0.4 percent in July and August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that 0.7-percent advances in the indexes for both all items less food and energy and for food, were partially offset by a 3.4-percent decline in energy. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, short-term changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

During the year ended in August 2015, the all items CPI-U rose 0.3 percent, the first 12-month increase since December 2014. (See chart 1.) The index for all items less food and energy increased 2.8 percent over the year. (See table 1.)


Local food prices rose 0.7 percent in July and August, after registering little change in May and June (-0.1 percent). Among the two components of the index, prices for food at home (grocery stores) advanced 1.1 percent, while prices for food away from home edged up 0.2 percent.

From August 2014 to August 2015, the food index rose 2.1 percent, reflecting the combined effects of a 1.7-percent price rise at grocery stores and a 2.5-percent price rise for food away from home.


The energy index fell 3.4 percent in July and August, after rising 7.7 percent in May and June. The biggest factor in the current two-month decline was a 5.4-percent decrease in the motor fuel index, though lower natural gas prices also contributed, down 5.1 percent. Partially offsetting these increases, electricity prices were up 0.9 percent during the period.

During the year ended in August 2015, energy costs registered a 22.1-percent decrease as prices fell for all three energy components. A 27.2-percent drop in motor fuel prices was the biggest factor in the decrease, but electricity and natural gas costs also fell, down 13.3 and 11.8 percent, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.7 percent in July and August, after edging up 0.2 percent in May and June. Among the leading factors in the advance were higher prices for apparel (7.7 percent), shelter (0.9 percent), household furnishings and operations (2.4 percent), and education and communication (1.1 percent). During the period, lower prices were noted for airline fares, recreation, and other goods and services.

From August 2014 to August 2015, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.8 percent. The biggest factor in the annual increase was a 5.1-percent rise in shelter costs, as the indexes rose for both renters’ costs and owners’ equivalent rent. Another large contributor to the annual increase was higher prices for medical care, up 4.4 percent. In contrast, prices fell over the year for recreation and apparel, down 3.9 and 3.1 percent, respectively.

The October 2015 Consumer Price Index for All Items for Houston-Galveston-Brazoria will be released on November 17, 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 6,000 housing units and approximately 24,000 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 and the BLS Handbook of Methods, Chapter 17, The Consumer Price Index, available on the Internet at

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: (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 -

All items

213.896 214.6520.30.4 

All items (1967 = 100)

686.042 688.465   

Food and beverages

223.350 224.8492.10.7 


223.195 224.8002.10.7 

Food at home


Food away from home

218.702 219.2342.50.2 

Alcoholic beverages

215.502 215.3401.9-0.1 


201.293 203.2993.11.0 



Rent of primary residence (1)


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


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


Fuels and utilities

156.907 156.698-9.2-0.1 

Household energy


Energy services (1) (3)


Electricity (1)


Utility (piped) gas service (1)


Household furnishings and operations

121.568 124.4692.72.4 


168.409 181.352-3.17.7 


182.505 178.316-6.9-2.3 

Private transportation

180.135 176.991-6.9-1.7 

Motor fuel


Gasoline (all types)


Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)


Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)


Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)


Medical care

450.545 452.2454.40.4 

Recreation (6)

102.509 101.118-3.9-1.4 

Education and communication (6)

124.188 125.5932.41.1 

Other goods and services

390.923 390.1532.2-0.2 




175.529 175.478-3.50.0 

Commodities less food and beverages

151.537 150.867-6.6-0.4 

Nondurables less food and beverages

200.416 200.746-10.70.2 


105.780 104.507-0.7-1.2 


253.830 255.4043.10.6 



All items less shelter

203.853 204.052-1.70.1 

All items less medical care

202.275 202.9850.00.4 

Commodities less food

153.850 153.188-6.3-0.4 


212.379 213.283-4.60.4 

Nondurables less food

201.136 201.438-10.10.2 

Services less rent of shelter (2)

266.624 267.3501.00.3 

Services less medical care services

234.412 235.9803.00.7 



All items less energy

220.027 221.5052.70.7 

All items less food and energy

219.320 220.7742.80.7 

(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: Wednesday, September 16, 2015