Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Prices in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), rose 1.8 percent for the two months ending in April 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Michael Hirniak noted this was the largest increase in the all items index since February 2012. An increase in the index for all items less food and energy was the biggest contributor to the latest bimonthly rise, but higher energy costs were also a major factor. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect seasonal influences.)
Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U rose 4.5 percent, the largest yearly increase in the all items index since August 2008. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.8 percent over the year, as did the food index. During the same period, energy prices jumped 32.9 percent. (See chart 1 and table 1.)
Food prices increased 1.1 percent for the two months ending in April. Within the two components of the index, prices for food at home rose 2.2 percent, while prices for food away from home edged down 0.1 percent for the same period.
During the 12 months ending in April 2021, the index for food rose 2.8 percent. The rise reflected an increase in prices for both food away from home (3.8 percent) and food at home (1.9 percent).
The energy index rose 9.6 percent for the two months ending in April, after rising 7.7 percent in the two months ending in February. The latest increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (21.4 percent), but prices for natural gas service also rose (2.4 percent). In contrast, prices for electricity declined 1.2 percent for the same period.
From April 2020 to April 2021, the energy index jumped 32.9 percent over the year, the largest annual rise since June 2006. All subcomponents contributed to the latest advance, but a 54.3-percent surge in gasoline prices was the biggest factor; this was the largest 12-month increase in gasoline prices since January 2010. Prices paid for electricity and natural gas service also increased during the past year, up 17.0 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively.
The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.2 percent in March and April, after rising 0.4 percent in January and February. The latest movement was fueled by higher prices for used cars and trucks (11.6 percent), motor vehicle insurance (9.5 percent), and recreation (1.2 percent).
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.8 percent. Higher prices for new and used motor vehicles (8.9 percent) and recreation (6.3 percent) led the increases within the index.
The June 2021 Consumer Price Index for Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.
Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in April 2021 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 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/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.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 U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. 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 6,000 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; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000. Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cpi/.
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-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, Core Based Statistical Area includes the counties of Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller.
Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.
|Item and Group||Indexes||Percent change from -|
All items (1967 = 100)
Food and beverages
Food at home
Cereals and bakery products
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Dairy and related products
Fruits and vegetables
Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)
Other food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence
Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)
Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles(3)
Used cars and trucks(1)
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)
Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)
Motor vehicle insurance(1)
Education and communication(3)
Tuition, other school fees, and childcare(1)
Other goods and services
Commodity and service group
Commodities less food and beverages
Nondurables less food and beverages
Special aggregate indexes
All items less shelter
All items less medical care
Commodities less food
Nondurables less food
Services less rent of shelter(2)
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy
- Data not available.
Last Modified Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021