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News Release Information

20-1718-SAN
Friday, September 11, 2020

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270

Consumer Price Index, West Region — August 2020

Area prices were up 0.3 percent over the past month, up 1.9 percent from a year ago

Prices in the West Region, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased 0.3 percent in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) The August increase was influenced by higher prices for used cars and trucks and food. (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 1.9 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The index for all items less food and energy also increased 1.9 percent over the year. Food prices rose 5.6 percent. Energy prices decreased 6.4 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices advanced 0.6 percent for the month of August. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home increased 0.7 percent, led by fruit and vegetable prices (1.4 percent), and prices for food away from home advanced 0.5 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices rose 5.6 percent. Prices for food at home increased 5.8 percent since a year ago, largely due to price increases in meat, poultry, fish and eggs (8.6 percent), and prices for food away from home advanced 5.3 percent.

Energy

The energy index advanced 1.0 percent over the month. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (1.8 percent). Prices for natural gas service rose 0.4 percent, but prices for electricity edged down 0.1 percent for the same period.

Energy prices decreased 6.4 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-13.0 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service increased 5.5 percent, and prices for electricity advanced 1.9 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 August. Higher prices for used cars and trucks (5.7 percent), apparel (2.1 percent), and household furnishings and operations (0.7 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for motor vehicle insurance (-2.2 percent) and other goods and services (-0.8 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 1.9 percent. Components contributing to the increase included medical care (6.1 percent), household furnishings and operations (4.2 percent), and shelter (2.3 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were price decreases in motor vehicle insurance (-3.9 percent) and apparel (-3.2 percent).

Table A. West region CPI-U 1-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month20162017201820192020
1-month12-month1-month12-month1-month12-month1-month12-month1-month12-month

January

0.52.60.52.50.53.10.22.70.32.9

February

0.12.10.63.00.53.10.22.40.43.1

March

0.21.50.33.10.43.20.42.4-0.22.5

April

0.51.80.32.90.43.20.82.9-0.41.3

May

0.51.50.22.60.53.50.52.90.10.8

June

0.21.60.02.50.23.60.02.70.41.2

July

0.11.40.12.50.13.60.02.70.51.7

August

0.01.50.22.70.23.60.12.60.31.9

September

0.32.00.52.90.33.40.32.6

October

0.32.30.32.90.43.50.52.8

November

-0.22.30.03.1-0.23.3-0.12.8

December

0.02.50.13.1-0.23.1-0.22.8

The September 2020 Consumer Price Index for the West Region is scheduled to be released on October 13, 2020.

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

Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in August 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 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 https://www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.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 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.

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

IndexesPercent change from-
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020
Aug.
2020
Aug.
2019
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020

Expenditure category

All Items

274.155275.597276.4431.90.80.3

All items (December 1977=100)

443.156445.488446.855   

Food and beverages

278.677278.110279.7905.30.40.6

Food

278.995278.597280.3335.60.50.6

Food at home

264.126261.964263.7625.8-0.10.7

Cereals and bakery products

269.376267.275268.9541.5-0.20.6

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

289.818280.540279.3858.6-3.6-0.4

Dairy and related products

242.486243.167247.2646.62.01.7

Fruits and vegetables

345.015345.610350.3415.31.51.4

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials

186.193184.062187.4299.50.71.8

Other food at home

220.080220.641221.1974.00.50.3

Food away from home

298.074300.104301.7485.31.20.5

Alcoholic beverages

271.064268.402269.3511.9-0.60.4

Housing

307.520308.454308.7822.60.40.1

Shelter

355.083356.272356.3362.30.40.0

Rent of primary residence(1)

379.296379.785379.9153.20.20.0

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

373.384373.920374.2932.60.20.1

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

373.389373.926374.2922.60.20.1

Fuels and utilities

315.578317.905318.5652.90.90.2

Household energy

266.415268.110268.3102.60.70.1

Energy services(1)

269.039270.792270.9182.60.70.0

Electricity(1)

299.699303.123302.9591.91.1-0.1

Utility (piped) gas service(1)

212.874210.489211.3675.5-0.70.4

Household furnishings and operations

138.230137.821138.7994.20.40.7

Apparel

109.226109.244111.588-3.22.22.1

Transportation

204.029209.147210.669-4.13.30.7

Private transportation

200.980206.739208.959-3.04.01.1

New and used motor vehicles(3)

98.678100.337102.0580.83.41.7

New vehicles

148.806149.904149.7651.40.6-0.1

New cars and trucks(3)(4)

103.332104.112104.0151.40.7-0.1

New cars(4)

147.456148.599148.4581.50.7-0.1

Used cars and trucks

131.430135.518143.3033.29.05.7

Motor fuel

215.803225.536229.485-13.06.31.8

Gasoline (all types)

214.925224.837228.850-13.06.51.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

211.355221.156225.212-13.36.61.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

208.762218.152222.275-11.96.51.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

215.932225.608229.037-11.26.11.5

Motor vehicle insurance(6)

765.701832.394813.922-3.96.3-2.2

Medical Care

540.943544.125544.2476.10.60.0

Medical care commodities

428.922428.925428.5839.1-0.1-0.1

Medical care services

575.507579.688579.9565.20.80.0

Professional services

366.273369.491366.6731.90.1-0.8

Recreation(3)

116.512115.497115.7181.1-0.70.2

Education and communication(3)

138.505140.134140.5191.81.50.3

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(6)

1,500.8911,503.4451,510.8161.90.70.5

Other goods and services

461.650461.650458.1511.6-0.8-0.8

Commodity and Service Group

All Items

274.155275.597276.4431.90.80.3

Commodities

187.662188.740190.6081.81.61.0

Commodities less food & beverages

144.067145.715147.562-0.62.41.3

Nondurables less food & beverages

184.367186.745188.437-3.22.20.9

Nondurables less food, beverages, and apparel

237.198241.203242.467-3.22.20.5

Durables

106.190107.242109.0112.02.71.6

Services

354.845356.613356.3072.00.4-0.1

Rent of shelter(2)

378.200379.458379.5362.30.40.0

Transportation services

298.883306.127300.958-6.30.7-1.7

Other services

366.325366.379366.3822.40.00.0

Special aggregate indexes:

All items less medical care

262.036263.401264.2741.60.90.3

All items less food

273.505275.250275.9501.30.90.3

All items less shelter

242.407243.949245.0991.71.10.5

Commodities less food

148.627150.168152.004-0.42.31.2

Nondurables

231.393232.347234.0431.61.10.7

Nondurables less food

190.704192.758194.407-2.71.90.9

Nondurables less food and apparel

240.460243.754244.984-2.51.90.5

Services less rent of shelter(2)

364.867367.480366.6531.50.5-0.2

Services less medical care services

339.476341.080340.7371.60.4-0.1

Energy

240.961247.429249.846-6.43.71.0

All items less energy

278.718279.831280.5782.50.70.3

All items less food and energy

279.452280.839281.4101.90.70.2

Commodities less food and energy commodities

140.799141.518143.1281.81.71.1

Energy commodities

220.103229.858233.876-12.86.31.7

Services less energy services

361.172362.948362.6171.90.4-0.1

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) Indexes 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.
(6) Indexes on a December 1977=100 base.

- Data not available
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, September 11, 2020