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News Release Information

16-761-SAN
Thursday, April 14, 2016

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Technical information:
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  • (415) 625-2270

Consumer Price Index, West Region — March 2016

Area prices were up 0.2 percent over the past month, up 1.5 percent from a year ago

Prices in the West Region, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), inched up 0.2 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) The March increase was influenced by higher prices for gasoline and shelter. (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 1.5 percent. (See chart 1.) Energy prices dropped 13.1 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.8 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices declined 0.4 percent for the month of March. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home decreased 0.9 percent, but prices for food away from home inched up 0.2 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices increased 1.4 percent. Prices for food away from home advanced 3.3 percent since a year ago, yet prices for food at home were unchanged.

Energy

The energy index increased 2.4 percent over the month. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (6.1 percent). Prices for electricity advanced 0.6 percent, but prices for natural gas service decreased 5.8 percent for the same period.

Energy prices dropped 13.1 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-22.9 percent). Prices for natural gas service decreased 8.9 percent, but prices paid for electricity rose 1.8 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.2 percent in March. Higher prices for used cars and trucks (1.4 percent), apparel (0.9 percent), and shelter (0.4 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for recreation (-0.5 percent) and medical care (-0.4 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.8 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (4.7 percent) and medical care (3.1 percent).

Table A. West Region CPI-U monthly and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month201120122013201420152016
MonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnualMonthlyAnnual

January

0.51.40.42.60.31.70.31.7-0.30.70.52.6

February

0.61.90.42.50.82.00.41.30.60.90.12.1

March

0.92.60.92.40.41.50.61.50.81.10.21.5

April

0.63.00.22.10.01.30.31.80.31.0  

May

0.33.20.22.00.21.30.62.30.81.2  

June

-0.23.1-0.22.00.11.50.12.30.01.1  

July

-0.12.9-0.31.80.01.90.12.30.31.3  

August

0.23.00.52.10.11.5-0.12.1-0.11.3  

September

0.43.50.52.20.21.30.12.0-0.21.0  

October

0.03.40.42.5-0.10.9-0.12.00.01.1  

November

-0.23.2-0.71.9-0.41.3-0.61.7-0.21.5  

December

-0.32.7-0.51.70.01.8-0.51.3-0.11.8  

The April 2016 Consumer Price Index for the West Region is scheduled to be released on May 17, 2016.


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/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: (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.
2016
Feb.
2016
Mar.
2016
Mar.
2015
Jan.
2016
Feb.
2016

Expenditure category

 
 

All Items

244.600244.821245.4041.50.30.2

All items (December 1977=100)

395.382395.739396.681   

Food and beverages

252.297252.898251.8091.4-0.2-0.4

Food

252.408252.966251.8821.4-0.2-0.4

Food at home

249.584250.045247.9010.0-0.7-0.9

Food away from home

255.149255.841256.2753.30.40.2

Alcoholic beverages

247.478248.670247.5201.70.0-0.5

Housing

259.985261.126261.6713.90.60.2

Shelter

295.183296.707297.7774.70.90.4

Rent of primary residence (1)

310.112311.351312.4434.90.80.4

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

309.485310.751311.8344.70.80.3

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

309.472310.742311.8314.70.80.4

Fuels and utilities

277.144278.267276.5150.8-0.2-0.6

Household energy

238.794239.532237.235-0.8-0.7-1.0

Energy services (1)

240.609241.383239.236-0.8-0.6-0.9

Electricity (1)

265.864266.632268.3221.80.90.6

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

195.589196.429184.968-8.9-5.4-5.8

Household furnishings and operations

130.436130.220129.9600.5-0.4-0.2

Apparel

116.407119.697120.739-0.33.70.9

Transportation

194.907190.635193.690-5.0-0.61.6

Private transportation

188.555184.063187.324-5.4-0.71.8

New and used motor vehicles (3)

99.730100.691101.6010.01.90.9

New vehicles

146.138147.376148.0430.31.30.5

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

101.496102.354102.8150.21.30.5

New cars (4)

144.848146.173146.169-0.70.90.0

Used cars and trucks

137.043138.133140.089-1.42.21.4

Motor fuel

198.078173.893184.310-23.0-7.06.0

Gasoline (all types)

197.513173.287183.791-22.9-6.96.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

194.666170.322180.770-23.5-7.16.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

190.843168.365179.465-21.1-6.06.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

196.123174.285183.889-20.5-6.25.5

Medical Care

460.641466.390464.7153.10.9-0.4

Medical care commodities

347.688351.417351.3891.71.10.0

Medical care services

496.693503.121500.8513.50.8-0.5

Professional services

342.595345.538345.7512.70.90.1

Recreation (3)

111.498111.764111.2471.3-0.2-0.5

Education and communication (3)

138.896138.429138.5300.3-0.30.1

Other goods and services

406.263405.812406.7651.30.10.2
 

Commodity and Service Group

 
 

All Items

244.600244.821245.4041.50.30.2

Commodities

177.738176.682177.373-2.0-0.20.4

Commodities less food & beverages

140.849139.193140.548-4.4-0.21.0

Nondurables less food & beverages

175.510171.339173.836-6.9-1.01.5

Nondurables less food, beverages, and apparel

217.336208.314211.798-9.1-2.51.7

Durables

108.737109.165109.556-0.70.80.4

Services

306.318307.770308.2423.60.60.2

Rent of shelter (2)

314.055315.685316.8314.70.90.4

Transportation services

285.013286.440287.0832.70.70.2

Other services

339.939339.607339.8741.70.00.1
 

Special aggregate indexes:

 
 

All items less medical care

234.724234.701235.3821.40.30.3

All items less food

243.561243.730244.5701.60.40.3

All items less shelter

225.244224.910225.290-0.20.00.2

Commodities less food

144.822143.228144.528-4.1-0.20.9

Nondurables

213.626211.634212.485-2.4-0.50.4

Nondurables less food

180.714176.818179.126-6.2-0.91.3

Nondurables less food and apparel

219.885211.786214.852-8.0-2.31.4

Services less rent of shelter (2)

331.083332.466332.0982.30.3-0.1

Services less medical care services

293.083294.210294.8573.60.60.2

Energy

218.529205.191210.052-13.1-3.92.4

All items less energy

248.555249.793250.0602.60.60.1

All items less food and energy

248.661250.019250.5162.80.70.2

Commodities less food and energy commodities

139.460140.513140.772-0.30.90.2

Energy commodities

202.420178.266188.493-22.5-6.95.7

Services less energy services

311.280312.779313.4153.80.70.2

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: Thursday, April 14, 2016