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News Release Information

15-670-SAN
Friday, April 17, 2015

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Technical information:
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  • (415) 625-2270

Consumer Price Index, West Region — March 2015

Area prices were up 0.8 percent over the past month, up 1.1 percent from a year ago

Prices in the West Region, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), rose 0.8 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that the March increase was influenced by higher prices for gasoline. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U rose 1.1 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Energy prices fell 13.1 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.3 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices declined 0.3 percent for the month of March. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home decreased 0.7 percent, but prices for food away from home crept up 0.2 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices advanced 2.7 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 2.8 percent since a year ago, and prices for food at home increased 2.6 percent.

Energy

The energy index advanced 9.5 percent over the month. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (19.4 percent). Prices for electricity were virtually unchanged (0.1 percent), while prices for natural gas service decreased 1.5 percent in for the same period.

Energy prices fell 13.1 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-21.2 percent). Prices paid for electricity rose 0.8 percent, but prices for natural gas service decreased 1.6 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy advanced 0.3 percent in March. Higher prices for apparel (2.0 percent) and shelter (0.3 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for education and communication (-0.2 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.3 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (4.0 percent) and medical care (2.9 percent). Partly offsetting the increases was a price decline in education and communication (-0.1 percent).

Table A. West Region CPI-U monthly and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month201020112012201320142015
MonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnual

January

0.31.90.51.40.42.60.31.70.31.7-0.30.7

February

0.11.40.61.90.42.50.82.00.41.30.60.9

March

0.31.60.92.60.92.40.41.50.61.50.81.1

April

0.21.50.63.00.22.10.01.30.31.8  

May

0.11.30.33.20.22.00.21.30.62.3  

June

-0.10.6-0.23.1-0.22.00.11.50.12.3  

July

0.10.8-0.12.9-0.31.80.01.90.12.3  

August

0.10.70.23.00.52.10.11.5-0.12.1  

September

-0.10.50.43.50.52.20.21.30.12.0  

October

0.10.60.03.40.42.5-0.10.9-0.12.0  

November

0.00.9-0.23.2-0.71.9-0.41.3-0.61.7  

December

0.21.3-0.32.7-0.51.70.01.8-0.51.3  

The April 2015 Consumer Price Index for the West Region is scheduled to be released on May 22, 2015.


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 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 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 West Region covered in this release is comprised of the following thirteen states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods

West (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group

 
Indexes
 
Percent change from-
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015
Mar.
2014
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015

Expenditure category

 
 

All Items

238.318239.748241.6901.11.40.8

All items (December 1977=100)

385.227387.539390.678   

Food and beverages

249.219249.100248.2812.6-0.4-0.3

Food

249.403249.263248.4002.7-0.4-0.3

Food at home

250.441249.628247.7812.6-1.1-0.7

Food away from home

246.713247.524248.0502.80.50.2

Alcoholic beverages

243.463243.604243.3571.40.0-0.1

Housing

250.123251.248251.8853.40.70.3

Shelter

282.147283.426284.3984.00.80.3

Rent of primary residence (1)

295.927296.880297.7294.20.60.3

Owners' equiv. rent of residences (1) (2)

295.909296.871297.9593.80.70.4

Owners' equiv. rent of primary residence (1) (2)

295.900296.862297.9513.80.70.4

Fuels and utilities

274.684274.760274.1951.5-0.2-0.2

Household energy

240.250239.786239.035-0.4-0.5-0.3

Energy services (1)

242.408241.924241.1740.2-0.5-0.3

Electricity (1)

263.658263.361263.5300.80.00.1

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

207.079206.117203.122-1.6-1.9-1.5

Household furnishings and operations

128.181129.299129.3280.20.90.0

Apparel

116.559118.718121.0960.03.92.0

Transportation

190.929194.638203.799-6.16.74.7

Private transportation

184.366188.194197.986-6.47.45.2

New and used motor vehicles (3)

99.511100.642101.6040.12.11.0

New vehicles

145.496147.272147.6021.01.40.2

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

101.157102.349102.5911.01.40.2

New cars (4)

145.783147.203147.1440.10.90.0

Used cars and trucks

137.029138.644142.077-2.03.72.5

Motor fuel

189.669200.971239.295-21.326.219.1

Gasoline (all types)

188.054199.636238.388-21.226.819.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

185.737197.305236.261-21.627.219.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

181.020192.246227.372-20.325.618.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

184.778195.873231.223-19.725.118.0

Medical Care

447.286449.719450.6752.90.80.2

Medical care commodities

341.585345.317345.6195.71.20.1

Medical care services

480.659482.519483.7192.10.60.2

Professional services

333.511336.261336.5181.70.90.1

Recreation (3)

109.062109.610109.8690.00.70.2

Education and communication (3)

138.286138.439138.151-0.1-0.1-0.2

Other goods and services

401.012401.142401.4130.90.10.1
 

Commodity and Service Group

 
 

All Items

238.318239.748241.6901.11.40.8

Commodities

176.041177.717181.002-1.82.81.8

Commodities less food & beverages

139.773142.131146.995-4.75.23.4

Nondurables less food & beverages

173.286177.077186.651-7.07.75.4

Nondurables less food, beverages, and apparel

213.492218.422232.908-9.29.16.6

Durables

108.712109.762110.348-1.01.50.5

Services

295.685296.863297.4882.90.60.2

Rent of shelter (2)

300.156301.527302.5704.00.80.3

Transportation services

278.242279.634279.6121.60.50.0

Other services

332.835333.826334.1120.70.40.1
 

Special aggregate indexes:

 
 

All items less medical care

228.753230.137232.1081.01.50.9

All items less food

236.753238.434240.8240.81.71.0

All items less shelter

221.784223.293225.665-0.41.71.1

Commodities less food

143.659145.965150.707-4.44.93.2

Nondurables

210.976212.975217.779-2.13.22.3

Nondurables less food

178.377181.969191.002-6.47.15.0

Nondurables less food and apparel

216.045220.507233.555-8.28.15.9

Services less rent of shelter (2)

323.522324.581324.7291.60.40.0

Services less medical care services

282.829283.959284.5463.00.60.2

Energy

214.552220.630241.612-13.112.69.5

All items less energy

242.047243.137243.6532.30.70.2

All items less food and energy

241.520242.829243.5882.30.90.3

Commodities less food and energy commodities

139.182140.436141.2110.01.50.6

Energy commodities

193.829205.085243.220-21.325.518.6

Services less energy services

299.823301.110301.8243.00.70.2

Footnotes
(1) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(2) Index is on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
 

Regions defined as the four Census regions. West includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date. Data not seasonally adjusted.
 

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 17, 2015