Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Prices in the West Region, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), advanced 0.7 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. (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 increased 2.4 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Food prices advanced 4.2 percent. Energy prices jumped 10.7 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.5 percent over the year. (See table 1.)
Food prices inched up 0.1 percent for the month of March. (See table 1.) Prices for food away from home edged up 0.2 percent. Prices for food at home were unchanged for the same period, influenced by higher prices for cereals and bakery products (1.6 percent) and lower prices for nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials (-1.4 percent).
Over the year, food prices advanced 4.2 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 4.8 percent. Prices for food at home advanced 3.8 percent since a year ago, led by higher prices for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs (8.3 percent).
The energy index rose 7.4 percent over the month. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for gasoline (12.6 percent). Prices for electricity increased 1.1 percent, and prices for natural gas service advanced 0.7 percent for the same period.
Energy prices jumped 10.7 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for gasoline (13.9 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service advanced 8.5 percent, and prices for electricity increased 6.3 percent during the past year.
The index for all items less food and energy advanced 0.3 percent in March. Higher prices for used cars and trucks (2.4 percent), recreation (1.1 percent), and shelter (0.2 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for education and communication (-0.8 percent), new vehicles (-0.4 percent), and other goods and services (-0.1 percent).
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.5 percent. Components contributing to the increase included used cars and trucks (9.9 percent), household furnishings and operations (3.6 percent), and shelter (1.4 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were price decreases in motor vehicle insurance (-1.4 percent) and apparel (-1.3 percent).
The April 2021 Consumer Price Index for the West Region is scheduled to be released on May 12, 2021.
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 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 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.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measures 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 U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. 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 6,000 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; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000. Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cpi/.
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: Tuesday, April 13, 2021