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News Release Information

21-787-DAL
Wednesday, May 12, 2021

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Consumer Price Index, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land – April 2021

Area prices rise 1.8 percent in March and April, up 4.5 percent over the year

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

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).

Energy

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.

All items less food and energy

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on April 2021 Consumer Price Index Data

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.


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 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.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods,
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX, April 2021 (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group Indexes Percent change from -
Feb.
2021
Mar.
2021
Apr.
2021
Apr.
2020
Feb.
2021
Mar.
2021

All items

232.442 - 236.604 4.5 1.8 -

All items (1967 = 100)

745.525 - 758.874      

Food and beverages

243.397 - 246.208 2.9 1.2 -

Food

243.716 - 246.306 2.8 1.1 -

Food at home

230.282 235.889 235.290 1.9 2.2 -0.3

Cereals and bakery products

271.327 - 278.915 0.6 2.8 -

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

253.681 - 251.794 0.4 -0.7 -

Dairy and related products

174.172 - 198.663 8.6 14.1 -

Fruits and vegetables

295.368 - 301.012 1.2 1.9 -

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

278.217 - 279.624 -0.2 0.5 -

Other food at home

202.651 - 206.013 3.4 1.7 -

Food away from home

253.276 - 253.124 3.8 -0.1 -

Alcoholic beverages

226.847 - 232.196 4.2 2.4 -

Housing

231.542 - 231.900 2.2 0.2 -

Shelter

273.853 274.342 274.407 0.5 0.2 0.0

Rent of primary residence

270.111 270.876 270.503 0.7 0.1 -0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

256.192 256.202 255.898 0.9 -0.1 -0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

256.192 256.202 255.898 0.9 -0.1 -0.1

Fuels and utilities

197.867 - 196.730 14.9 -0.6 -

Household energy

171.745 172.991 170.501 15.9 -0.7 -1.4

Energy services

169.195 170.376 167.889 15.9 -0.8 -1.5

Electricity

172.155 173.533 170.017 17.0 -1.2 -2.0

Utility (piped) gas service

138.361 138.359 141.723 9.1 2.4 2.4

Household furnishings and operations

138.681 - 139.406 3.0 0.5 -

Apparel

166.961 - 167.857 1.1 0.5 -

Transportation

178.642 - 193.812 15.6 8.5 -

Private transportation

180.664 - 194.079 15.8 7.4 -

New and used motor vehicles(3)

90.930 - 94.632 8.9 4.1 -

New vehicles(1)

171.396 - 172.275 3.4 0.5 -

Used cars and trucks(1)

246.337 - 274.999 21.0 11.6 -

Motor fuel

190.741 223.080 231.339 53.6 21.3 3.7

Gasoline (all types)

190.700 223.277 231.531 54.3 21.4 3.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

191.765 225.281 234.107 56.6 22.1 3.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

215.137 238.471 252.813 49.4 17.5 6.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

217.248 249.958 253.356 36.9 16.6 1.4

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

602.649 - 659.856 11.9 9.5 -

Medical care

535.541 - 538.142 1.7 0.5 -

Recreation(3)

111.846 - 113.193 6.3 1.2 -

Education and communication(3)

120.626 - 122.088 2.2 1.2 -

Tuition, other school fees, and childcare(1)

1,270.204 - 1,268.905 1.8 -0.1 -

Other goods and services

423.974 - 423.825 2.2 0.0 -

Commodity and service group

Commodities

175.816 - 181.429 7.4 3.2 -

Commodities less food and beverages

144.319 - 150.644 10.2 4.4 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

184.824 - 196.171 13.1 6.1 -

Durables

103.480 - 106.396 7.6 2.8 -

Services

290.407 - 293.105 2.7 0.9 -

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

216.908 - 222.498 6.6 2.6 -

All items less medical care

218.188 - 222.348 4.8 1.9 -

Commodities less food

147.042 - 153.367 9.9 4.3 -

Nondurables

213.950 - 221.182 7.4 3.4 -

Nondurables less food

187.146 - 198.062 12.4 5.8 -

Services less rent of shelter(2)

305.205 - 310.522 5.1 1.7 -

Services less medical care services

265.873 - 268.527 2.8 1.0 -

Energy

180.415 195.487 197.772 32.9 9.6 1.2

All items less energy

240.956 - 243.902 2.8 1.2 -

All items less food and energy

240.360 - 243.361 2.8 1.2 -

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on an April 1978=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Index on a December 1993=100.

- Data not available.

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021