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News Release Information

15-2191-DAL
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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Technical information:
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Consumer Price Index, Houston-Galveston-Brazoria – October 2015

Area prices unchanged in September and October; edge down 0.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Houston area was unchanged in September and October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that a 1.0-percent advance in the index for all items less food and energy was offset by a 10.3-percent decline in energy prices combined with a 0.3-percent decrease in food prices. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, short-term changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

During the year ended in October 2015, the all items CPI-U edged down 0.1 percent. (See chart 1.) In contrast, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.9 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

Food

Local food prices fell 0.3 percent in September and October, after increasing 0.7 in July and August. Among the two components of the index, prices for food at home (grocery stores) decreased 0.8 percent, while prices for food away from home rose 0.4 percent.

From October 2014 to October 2015, the food index rose 1.1 percent, reflecting the combined effects of a 2.7-percent price rise for food away from home and a 0.2-percent price decline at grocery stores. This period marked the first annual decrease in grocery store prices since September 2013 (-0.3 percent).

Energy

The energy index decreased 10.3 percent in September and October, after falling 3.4 percent in July and August. The biggest factor in the current two-month decline was a 16.1-percent decrease in the motor fuel index, though lower electricity prices also contributed, down 2.1 percent. Natural gas costs were unchanged during the period.

During the year ended in October 2015, the energy index fell 26.5-percent as prices decreased for all three energy components. A 33.3-percent drop in motor fuel prices was the biggest factor in the decline, but electricity and natural gas costs also fell, down 16.5 and 11.8 percent, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.0 percent in September and October, after advancing 0.7 percent in July and August. Among the leading factors in the advance were higher prices for apparel (4.5 percent) and shelter (1.1 percent). Also contributing were higher costs for motor vehicle insurance, other goods and services, and recreation. In contrast, lower prices were noted for medical care, down 1.0 percent during the period.

From October 2014 to October 2015, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.9 percent. The biggest factor in the annual increase was a 6.2-percent rise in shelter costs, as the indexes rose for both renters’ costs (7.7 percent) and owners’ equivalent rent (6.1 percent). This marked the fastest annual price rise for the overall shelter index since the year ended in August 2009 (6.2 percent). Other contributors to the annual increase included higher prices for medical care (3.1 percent) and for education and communication (2.3 percent). Countering a portion of these advances, prices fell over the year for apparel (-6.4 percent) and for recreation (-4.4 percent).

The December 2015 Consumer Price Index for All Items for Houston-Galveston-Brazoria will be released on January 20, 2016.


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 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: (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 -
 
Aug.
2015
Sep.
2015
Oct.
2015
Oct.
2014
Aug.
2015
Sep.
2015

All items

214.652-214.569-0.10.0-

All items (1967 = 100)

688.465-688.199   

Food and beverages

224.849-224.4401.2-0.2-

Food

224.800-224.1901.1-0.3-

Food at home

225.811225.696223.992-0.2-0.8-0.8

Food away from home

219.234-220.0722.70.4-

Alcoholic beverages

215.340-217.9852.01.2-

Housing

203.299-204.9953.60.8-

Shelter

242.757244.057245.5376.21.10.6

Rent of primary residence (1)

234.455236.568238.5857.71.80.9

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

224.813225.654227.0466.11.00.6

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

224.813225.654227.0466.11.00.6

Fuels and utilities

156.698-154.801-11.3-1.2-

Household energy

137.641136.292135.116-15.8-1.8-0.9

Energy services (1) (3)

135.185133.932132.809-15.7-1.8-0.8

Electricity (1)

134.792133.293131.952-16.5-2.1-1.0

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

126.098126.079126.052-11.80.00.0

Household furnishings and operations

124.469-125.3312.20.7-

Apparel

181.352-189.426-6.44.5-

Transportation

178.316-172.983-7.8-3.0-

Private transportation

176.991-171.082-8.0-3.3-

Motor fuel

214.506193.308179.868-33.3-16.1-7.0

Gasoline (all types)

215.309193.834179.983-33.2-16.4-7.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

219.477196.803182.267-34.2-17.0-7.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

227.010207.552194.107-29.9-14.5-6.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

226.415207.728195.701-27.3-13.6-5.8

Medical care

452.245-447.6653.1-1.0-

Recreation (6)

101.118-101.900-4.40.8-

Education and communication (6)

125.593-126.1382.30.4-

Other goods and services

390.153-394.6182.41.1-
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

175.478-173.042-4.8-1.4-

Commodities less food and beverages

150.867-147.686-8.1-2.1-

Nondurables less food and beverages

200.746-192.421-13.4-4.1-

Durables

104.507-105.012-0.60.5-

Services

255.404-257.6953.30.9-
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

204.052-202.920-2.7-0.6-

All items less medical care

202.985-203.046-0.30.0-

Commodities less food

153.188-150.135-7.7-2.0-

Nondurables

213.283-208.803-6.3-2.1-

Nondurables less food

201.438-193.731-12.6-3.8-

Services less rent of shelter (2)

267.350-269.0100.50.6-

Services less medical care services

235.980-238.5363.51.1-

Energy

173.567162.697155.640-26.5-10.3-4.3

All items less energy

221.505-223.2892.60.8-

All items less food and energy

220.774-222.9912.91.0-

(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: Tuesday, November 17, 2015