Thursday, April 14, 2016
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 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.
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.
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).
The April 2016 Consumer Price Index for the West Region is scheduled to be released on May 17, 2016.
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.
|Item and Group||Indexes||Percent change from-|
All items (December 1977=100)
Food and beverages
Food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence (1)
Fuels and utilities
Energy services (1)
Utility (piped) gas service (1)
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles (3)
New cars (4)
Used cars and trucks
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)
Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)
Medical care commodities
Medical care services
Education and communication (3)
Other goods and services
Commodity and Service Group
Commodities less food & beverages
Nondurables less food & beverages
Nondurables less food, beverages, and apparel
Rent of shelter (2)
Special aggregate indexes:
All items less medical care
All items less food
All items less shelter
Commodities less food
Nondurables less food
Nondurables less food and apparel
Services less rent of shelter (2)
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy
Commodities less food and energy commodities
Services less energy services
Regions defined as the four Census regions. West includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Last Modified Date: Thursday, April 14, 2016