Friday, April 10, 2020
Prices in the West Region, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), edged down 0.2 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) The March decrease was influenced by lower prices for energy. (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 advanced 2.5 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.5 percent over the year. Food prices rose 2.6 percent. Energy prices advanced 1.1 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of electricity. (See table 1.)
Food prices rose 0.3 percent for the month of March. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home increased 0.6 percent, while prices for food away from home were virtually unchanged for the same period.
Over the year, food prices rose 2.6 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 3.9 percent since a year ago, and prices for food at home advanced 1.6 percent.
The energy index decreased 2.8 percent over the month. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-4.7 percent). Prices for natural gas service declined 0.9 percent, while prices for electricity were virtually unchanged for the same period.
Energy prices advanced 1.1 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for electricity (3.3 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service increased 1.2 percent, but prices for gasoline declined 0.6 percent during the past year.
The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in March. Higher prices for used cars and trucks (2.3 percent) and medical care (0.6 percent) helped counter lower prices for apparel (-0.7 percent), household furnishings and operations (-0.3 percent), and recreation (-0.2 percent).
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.5 percent. Components contributing to the increase included medical care (6.6 percent) and shelter (3.7 percent). Partly offsetting the increases was a price decrease in apparel (-1.3 percent).
The April 2020 Consumer Price Index for the West Region is scheduled to be released on May 12, 2020.
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
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/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
Cereals and bakery products
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Dairy and related products
Fruits and vegetables
Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials
Other food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence(1)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service(1)
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles(3)
Used cars and trucks
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)
Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)
Motor vehicle insurance(6)
Medical care commodities
Medical care services
Education and communication(3)
Tuition, other school fees, and child care(6)
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
- Data not available
Last Modified Date: Friday, April 10, 2020