News Release Information

17-62-DAL
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (972) 850-4800

Consumer Price Index, Houston-Galveston-Brazoria – December 2016

Area prices decline 0.2 percent in November and December; up 2.3 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Houston area declined 0.2 percent in November and December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted that declines are quite typical in this period, having occurred in 30 of the last 34 years. In the current November and December period, a decline in the index for all items less food and energy (-0.3 percent) more than offset an increase in energy costs (0.6 percent); food prices were essentially unchanged (0.1 percent). (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, short-term changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

During the year ended in December 2016, the all items CPI-U advanced 2.3 percent, marking the highest rate of increase since October 2014. The index for all items less food and energy increased 2.1 percent during the year ended in December 2016. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Food

Food prices were essentially unchanged (0.1 percent) in November and December, matching the September and October report. Among the two components of the index, prices for food at home (grocery stores) declined 0.2 percent, but this was offset by a 0.5-percent increase in prices for food away from home.

From December 2015 to December 2016, the food index fell 0.5 percent, reflecting the combined effects of a 2.2-percent decline in grocery store prices and a 1.5-percent rise in prices for food away from home.

Energy

The energy index rose 0.6 percent in November and December, its fifth consecutive bimonthly increase, following four consecutive declines. The latest increase was primarily the result of higher prices for household energy as electricity costs rose 2.1 percent; natural gas costs were unchanged. Partially countering the household energy price increase, costs for motor fuel fell 0.6 percent.

During the year ended in December 2016, the energy index climbed 11.0 percent, the fastest annual rate of increase since November 2011 (13.1 percent). All three energy sub-components contributed to the annual price increase: motor fuel (11.5 percent), electricity (12.1 percent), and natural gas (3.2 percent). The 11.5-percent increase in motor fuel costs was the fastest annual rate of gain since February 2012 (14.6 percent).

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy decreased 0.3 percent in November and December, after advancing 0.6 percent in September and October. A 4.6-percent decline in apparel prices had the greatest impact, though lower prices for education and communication (-1.0 percent) and shelter (-0.1 percent) also contributed. Partially offsetting these declines, price increases were registered for medical care (0.9 percent) and household furnishings and operations (1.0 percent) during the two-month period.

From December 2015 to December 2016, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.1 percent. A 2.8-percent annual increase in shelter costs was the most important factor in the rise, as prices were up for both renters’ costs (4.9 percent) and owners’ equivalent rent (2.3 percent). In contrast, prices fell over the year for education and communication (-1.3 percent).

The February 2017 Consumer Price Index for All Items for Houston-Galveston-Brazoria is scheduled to be released Wednesday, March 15, 2017.


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/pdf/homch17.pdf.

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 Group Indexes Percent change from -
 
Oct.
2016
Nov.
2016
Dec.
2016
Dec.
2015
Oct.
2016
Nov.
2016

All items

218.200 - 217.758 2.3 -0.2 -

All items (1967 = 100)

699.846 - 698.428      

Food and beverages

224.204 - 224.455 -0.4 0.1 -

Food

223.828 - 224.049 -0.5 0.1 -

Food at home

221.207 222.175 220.735 -2.2 -0.2 -0.6

Food away from home

222.609 - 223.653 1.5 0.5 -

Alcoholic beverages

219.576 - 220.261 2.2 0.3 -

Housing

212.721 - 213.166 3.5 0.2 -

Shelter

253.672 253.969 253.506 2.8 -0.1 -0.2

Rent of primary residence(1)

248.634 250.536 251.085 4.9 1.0 0.2

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

234.554 234.784 234.288 2.3 -0.1 -0.2

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

234.554 234.784 234.288 2.3 -0.1 -0.2

Fuels and utilities

162.321 - 164.519 8.3 1.4 -

Household energy

142.531 139.770 145.109 10.5 1.8 3.8

Energy services(1)(3)

140.243 137.484 142.759 10.7 1.8 3.8

Electricity(1)

139.849 136.612 142.824 12.1 2.1 4.5

Utility (piped) gas service(1)

130.056 129.991 129.995 3.2 0.0 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

132.592 - 133.941 3.7 1.0 -

Apparel

180.224 - 171.886 1.6 -4.6 -

Transportation

175.737 - 174.048 2.9 -1.0 -

Private transportation

173.067 - 172.403 2.9 -0.4 -

Motor fuel

181.427 178.083 180.318 11.5 -0.6 1.3

Gasoline (all types)

181.697 178.209 180.433 11.8 -0.7 1.2

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

183.650 180.013 182.381 12.1 -0.7 1.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

197.024 193.558 196.099 11.2 -0.5 1.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

199.668 196.528 197.875 9.8 -0.9 0.7

Medical care

461.346 - 465.504 4.2 0.9 -

Recreation(6)

101.904 - 102.140 1.0 0.2 -

Education and communication(6)

124.664 - 123.370 -1.3 -1.0 -

Other goods and services

399.801 - 400.124 2.8 0.1 -
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

170.294 - 169.850 0.5 -0.3 -

Commodities less food and beverages

144.051 - 143.327 1.0 -0.5 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

189.466 - 187.664 4.4 -1.0 -

Durables

101.337 - 101.379 -2.8 0.0 -

Services

267.385 - 266.931 3.3 -0.2 -
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

204.864 - 204.310 2.0 -0.3 -

All items less medical care

206.276 - 205.678 2.1 -0.3 -

Commodities less food

146.610 - 145.919 1.1 -0.5 -

Nondurables

207.026 - 206.250 1.8 -0.4 -

Nondurables less food

191.005 - 189.353 4.3 -0.9 -

Services less rent of shelter(2)

280.811 - 280.041 3.8 -0.3 -

Services less medical care services

247.676 - 247.003 3.3 -0.3 -

Energy

159.904 156.879 160.898 11.0 0.6 2.6

All items less energy

226.945 - 226.352 1.7 -0.3 -

All items less food and energy

227.290 - 226.562 2.1 -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: Wednesday, January 18, 2017