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19-1873-DAL
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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Consumer Price Index, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land – October 2019

Area prices rise 0.3 percent in September and October; up 0.9 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), were up 0.3 percent for the two months ending in October 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted that the largest contributor was a 0.4-percent increase in the index for all items less food and energy, as the index for energy costs declined 0.3 percent. The food index was little changed during the two-month period. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the all items CPI-U increased 0.9 percent. (See chart 1.) The index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.0 percent over the year, while food prices increased 1.6 percent. The energy index fell 10.0 percent during the last year. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices edged up 0.1 percent in September and October, following a dip of 0.1 percent in July and August. The latest movement reflected the combined effects of a 0.5-percent increase in the food away from home index and a 0.5-percent decline in the food at home index.

Over the year, food prices increased 1.6 percent. Prices for food away from home advanced 2.5 percent, while prices for food at home rose at a slower pace, up 0.6 percent.

Energy

The energy index fell 0.3 percent in September and October, following a 3.7-percent decline in July and August. Energy costs have fallen in five of the last six bi-monthly periods. The latest movement was the result of a 6.1-percent decrease in gasoline costs. In contrast, household energy costs were up during the period, with electricity costs rising 7.5 percent and prices for natural gas service up 1.5 percent.

From October 2018 to October 2019, the energy index decreased 10.0 percent, the fastest annual rate of decline since August 2016. The largest factor was a 13.2-percent drop in gasoline costs, but lower costs for electricity (-8.1 percent) were another big contributor. The index for natural gas service climbed 10.1 percent over the year, its fastest annual rate of gain since July 2017.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent in September and October, after rising 0.5 percent in July and August. During the latest period, increases in the indexes for recreation (2.4 percent), household furnishings and operations (2.3 percent), and apparel (2.4 percent) were partially offset by lower costs for used cars and trucks (-4.2 percent) and shelter (-0.3 percent). The shelter decrease was the result of a sharp decline in the index for lodging away from home (hotels and motels).

During the 12 months ending in October 2019, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.0 percent. The largest factor in the latest annual change was a 2.3-percent rise in the index for shelter, led by a 3.3-percent advance in owners’ equivalent rent. Other components contributing to the increase included higher prices for medical care (3.7 percent), household furnishings and operations (5.0 percent), and recreation (2.5 percent). Partly countering the increases were index declines for new vehicles (-0.5 percent), apparel (-0.6 percent) and other goods and services (-0.2 percent).

The December 2019 Consumer Price Index for All Items for Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land is scheduled to be released Tuesday, January 14, 2020.


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 population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 29 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 75 urban areas across the country from about 5,000 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 (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-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 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-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group Indexes Percent change from -
Aug.
2019
Sep.
2019
Oct.
2019
Oct.
2018
Aug.
2019
Sep.
2019

All items

229.423 - 230.041 0.9 0.3 -

All items (1967 = 100)

735.843 - 737.825      

Food and beverages

233.220 - 233.211 1.4 0.0 -

Food

233.571 - 233.717 1.6 0.1 -

Food at home

224.850 224.266 223.822 0.6 -0.5 -0.2

Cereals and bakery products

268.375 - 264.436 1.2 -1.5 -

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

242.722 - 245.002 -0.6 0.9 -

Dairy and related products

174.425 - 170.265 -3.8 -2.4 -

Fruits and vegetables

289.787 - 284.524 2.8 -1.8 -

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

266.178 - 266.242 -2.4 0.0 -

Other food at home

200.165 - 200.352 3.1 0.1 -

Food away from home

238.468 - 239.750 2.5 0.5 -

Alcoholic beverages

217.366 - 214.917 -1.9 -1.1 -

Housing

225.415 - 226.742 1.7 0.6 -

Shelter

270.432 271.429 269.545 2.3 -0.3 -0.7

Rent of primary residence

264.746 265.363 264.805 1.2 0.0 -0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

252.689 254.184 253.141 3.3 0.2 -0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

252.689 254.184 253.141 3.3 0.2 -0.4

Fuels and utilities

168.948 - 177.524 -4.7 5.1 -

Household energy

144.486 151.495 154.112 -6.3 6.7 1.7

Energy services

142.102 149.058 151.659 -6.3 6.7 1.7

Electricity

141.756 149.705 152.364 -8.1 7.5 1.8

Utility (piped) gas service

132.784 132.779 134.796 10.1 1.5 1.5

Household furnishings and operations

139.218 - 142.454 5.0 2.3 -

Apparel

179.500 - 183.776 -0.6 2.4 -

Transportation

186.229 - 184.078 -2.3 -1.2 -

Private transportation

185.998 - 183.445 -2.7 -1.4 -

New and used motor vehicles(3)

88.728 - 87.376 0.0 -1.5 -

New vehicles(1)

163.359 - 163.216 -0.5 -0.1 -

Used cars and trucks(1)

234.897 - 225.040 1.3 -4.2 -

Motor fuel

218.536 203.194 205.525 -13.1 -6.0 1.1

Gasoline (all types)

218.603 202.998 205.287 -13.2 -6.1 1.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

220.665 204.161 206.637 -13.7 -6.4 1.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

237.618 225.333 226.776 -10.3 -4.6 0.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

242.902 231.753 232.917 -8.9 -4.1 0.5

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

708.611 - 740.494 2.0 4.5 -

Medical care

512.555 - 516.048 3.7 0.7 -

Recreation(3)

106.871 - 109.433 2.5 2.4 -

Education and communication(3)

122.905 - 122.462 1.2 -0.4 -

Tuition, other school fees, and childcare(1)

1,232.820 - 1,242.534 0.9 0.8 -

Other goods and services

413.984 - 416.903 -0.2 0.7 -

Commodity and service group

Commodities

176.136 - 174.450 -1.4 -1.0 -

Commodities less food and beverages

148.350 - 146.129 -3.0 -1.5 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

200.470 - 197.188 -5.7 -1.6 -

Durables

100.956 - 99.598 0.1 -1.3 -

Services

283.958 - 286.939 2.4 1.0 -

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

214.032 - 215.215 0.2 0.6 -

All items less medical care

215.924 - 216.433 0.6 0.2 -

Commodities less food

150.771 - 148.532 -3.0 -1.5 -

Nondurables

217.094 - 215.391 -2.1 -0.8 -

Nondurables less food

201.232 - 197.997 -5.5 -1.6 -

Services less rent of shelter(2)

296.209 - 303.712 2.4 2.5 -

Services less medical care services

261.280 - 263.933 2.0 1.0 -

Energy

177.636 174.690 177.182 -10.0 -0.3 1.4

All items less energy

237.802 - 238.554 2.0 0.3 -

All items less food and energy

238.351 - 239.207 2.0 0.4 -

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 base.

- Data not available.

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2019