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News Release Information

20-600-SAN
Friday, April 10, 2020

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Technical information:
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  • (415) 625-2270

Consumer Price Index, San Diego Area – March 2020

Area prices were unchanged over the past two months, up 1.8 percent from a year ago

Prices in the San Diego area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), were unchanged for the two months ending in March 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that the March index was influenced by higher prices for shelter and medical care and lower prices for apparel and education and communication. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U advanced 1.8 percent. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.8 percent over the year. Energy prices advanced 2.3 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of electricity. Food prices rose 0.8 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices rose 0.7 percent for the two months ending in March. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home increased 1.1 percent, and prices for food away from home rose 0.3 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices rose 0.8 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 1.7 percent, while prices for food at home were virtually unchanged during the past year.

Energy

The energy index decreased 2.4 percent for the two months ending in March. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-4.4 percent). Prices for natural gas service declined 7.4 percent, but electricity prices rose 4.0 percent for the same period.

Energy prices advanced 2.3 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for electricity (5.0 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service increased 5.9 percent, and prices for gasoline advanced 0.9 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for medical care (1.8 percent), recreation (1.2 percent), and shelter (0.4 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for apparel (-1.9 percent) and education and communication (-0.9 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.8 percent. Components contributing to the increase included medical care (4.3 percent), recreation (3.7 percent), and shelter (2.8 percent). Partly offsetting the increases was a price decline in education and communication (-2.7 percent).

The May 2020 Consumer Price Index for the San Diego area is scheduled to be released on June 10, 2020.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on March 2020 Consumer Price Index Data

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) program suspended data collection by personal visit on March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in March was affected by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the number of prices being considered temporarily unavailable and imputed. While the CPI program attempted to collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month. Additional information is available at www.bls.gov/bls/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-bls-price-indexes.htm#CPI.

Specific information about the impact of COVID-19 on March 2020 CPI data collection is available at www.bls.gov/cpi/additional-resources/covid19-statement-march-2020.htm


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 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA metropolitan area covered in this release consists of San Diego County in the State of California.

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

San Diego-Carlsbad (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group

IndexesPercent change from-
Jan.
2020
Feb.
2020
Mar.
2020
Mar.
2019
Jan.
2020
Feb.
2020

Expenditure category

All items

302.564-302.5891.80.0-

All items (1967=100)

1,023.062-1,023.146---

Food and beverages

262.528-265.1550.81.0-

Food

261.528-263.3470.80.7-

Food at home

230.671231.374233.1330.11.10.8

Cereals and bakery products

260.540-256.531-3.8-1.5-

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

239.904-240.900-0.10.4-

Dairy and related products

193.408-194.5765.10.6-

Fruits and vegetables

260.880-264.0632.21.2-

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

256.982-265.2331.93.2-

Other food at home

213.699-218.097-1.72.1-

Food away from home

302.504-303.3601.70.3-

Food away from home

302.504-303.3601.70.3-

Alcoholic beverages

263.403-273.8760.44.0-

Housing

361.568-363.3012.80.5-

Shelter

412.648414.188414.2432.80.40.0

Rent of primary residence(2)

408.428408.844409.4573.50.30.1

Owners' equiv. rent of residences(2)

436.396436.139436.5633.20.00.1

Owners' equiv. rent of primary residence(2)

436.396436.139436.5633.20.00.1

Fuels and utilities

342.790-345.9104.00.9-

Household energy

308.284314.644311.9765.21.2-0.8

Energy services

304.148310.817308.3655.51.4-0.8

Electricity

290.406302.165302.1655.04.00.0

Utility (piped) gas service

249.092239.216230.5525.9-7.4-3.6

Household furnishings and operations

189.407-191.2002.00.9-

Apparel

161.111-157.9710.3-1.9-

Transportation

231.819-223.714-0.7-3.5-

Private transportation

223.798-222.2691.2-0.7-

New and used motor vehicles(3)

105.898-107.143-1.31.2-

New vehicles(1)

230.644-231.0421.10.2-

Used cars and trucks(1)

226.820-234.192-0.13.3-

Motor fuel

283.929281.132271.3950.9-4.4-3.5

Gasoline (all types)

283.626280.909271.1950.9-4.4-3.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

293.004290.335281.2831.0-4.0-3.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

247.834245.037232.8930.7-6.0-5.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

292.655289.326275.7120.5-5.8-4.7

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

556.668-549.8522.9-1.2-

Medical care

498.962-507.9044.31.8-

Recreation(3)

159.728-161.5773.71.2-

Education and communication(3)

130.384-129.186-2.7-0.9-

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)

1,538.385-1,538.385-3.60.0-

Other goods and services

411.720-414.6831.00.7-

Commodity and service group

All items

302.564-302.5891.80.0-

Commodities

203.197-203.9201.00.4-

Commodities less food & beverages

171.845-171.5150.9-0.2-

Nondurables less food & beverages

206.337-202.5001.0-1.9-

Durables

135.842-138.7570.32.1-

Services

390.676-389.9582.2-0.2-

Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

293.305-292.9151.6-0.1-

All items less shelter

259.123-258.5801.2-0.2-

Commodities less food

175.979-176.1790.90.1-

Nondurables

235.690-235.3031.2-0.2-

Nondurables less food

211.900-209.4351.2-1.2-

Services less rent of shelter(2)

384.065-380.5251.3-0.9-

Services less medical care services

378.263-376.7651.9-0.4-

Energy

288.936289.230281.9642.3-2.4-2.5

All items less energy

306.116-306.5521.70.1-

All items less food and energy

315.675-315.8011.80.0-

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a November 1977=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a November 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.

- Data not available
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 10, 2020