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17-83-SAN
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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Consumer Price Index, Seattle area — December 2016

Area prices were unchanged over the past two months, up 2.6 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Seattle Area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), were unchanged for the two months ending in December 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that during this period lower gasoline prices helped counter higher shelter prices. (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 2.6 percent.  (See chart 1 and table A.) Energy prices rose 3.0 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 3.1 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices decreased 1.1 percent for the two months ending in December. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home decreased 2.0 percent, while prices for food away from home were unchanged for the same period.

Over the year, food prices declined 0.5 percent. Prices for food at home declined 3.5 percent since a year ago, but prices for food away from home rose 3.4 percent.

Energy

The energy index declined 3.5 percent for the two months ending in December. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-6.5 percent). Prices for electricity decreased 0.8 percent, but natural gas service moved up 0.2 percent for the same period.

Energy prices rose 3.0 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for gasoline (5.2 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service advanced 3.5 percent, and prices for electricity increased 0.8 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for shelter (2.1 percent) and education and communication (0.2 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for apparel (-9.4 percent) and household furnishings and operations (-1.3 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 3.1 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (7.4 percent) and medical care (3.6 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were price declines in apparel (-5.3 percent) and education and communication (-3.0 percent).

Table A. Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton CPI-U bi-monthly and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual Bi-monthly Annual

February

1.2 1.5 0.4 2.7 0.8 1.8 0.7 1.2 0.2 1.1 0.2 2.2

April

0.8 2.1 0.9 2.9 0.4 1.2 1.6 2.4 0.9 0.4 1.1 2.5

June

0.8 3.2 0.7 2.7 0.8 1.4 0.4 2.0 1.6 1.6 0.9 1.8

August

0.2 2.7 0.3 2.7 0.0 1.1 -0.2 1.8 0.0 1.8 0.3 2.1

October

0.9 3.8 0.5 2.3 0.0 0.6 0.3 2.1 -0.3 1.2 0.0 2.4

December

-0.5 3.5 -1.4 1.4 -0.7 1.3 -1.1 1.7 -0.2 2.2 0.0 2.6

The February 2017 Consumer Price Index for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton is scheduled to be released on, Wednesday March 15, 2017.


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 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 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 Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, WA. metropolitan area covered in this release is comprised of Island, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston Counties in the State of Washington.

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

Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, WA (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group

 
Indexes
 
Percent change from-
Oct.
2016
Nov.
2016
Dec.
2016
Dec.
2015
Oct.
2016
Nov.
2016

Expenditure category

 
 

All items

256.941 - 256.821 2.6 0.0 -

All items (1967=100)

783.256 - 782.889 - - -

Food and beverages

261.870 - 259.388 -0.2 -0.9 -

Food

264.550 - 261.705 -0.5 -1.1 -

Food at home

247.130 241.816 242.296 -3.5 -2.0 0.2

Food away from home

291.499 - 291.542 3.4 0.0 -

Alcoholic beverages

229.744 - 230.991 3.5 0.5 -

Housing

289.698 - 294.303 5.9 1.6 -

Shelter

328.533 328.482 335.588 7.4 2.1 2.2

Rent of primary residence(1)

336.559 337.715 340.166 7.1 1.1 0.7

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

344.750 346.538 348.636 6.1 1.1 0.6

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

344.750 346.538 348.636 6.1 1.1 0.6

Fuels and utilities

254.713 - 254.291 1.7 -0.2 -

Household energy

231.232 231.384 230.657 0.9 -0.2 -0.3

Energy services(1)

277.453 277.578 275.855 1.3 -0.6 -0.6

Electricity(1)

298.902 298.902 296.616 0.8 -0.8 -0.8

Utility (piped) gas service(1)

166.820 167.218 167.218 3.5 0.2 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

173.270 - 171.051 -1.2 -1.3 -

Apparel

134.032 - 121.373 -5.3 -9.4 -

Transportation

212.612 - 209.597 1.4 -1.4 -

Private transportation

219.666 - 216.415 1.8 -1.5 -

Motor fuel

298.171 292.212 279.196 5.1 -6.4 -4.5

Gasoline (all types)

304.686 298.418 284.908 5.2 -6.5 -4.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular(3)

330.440 323.189 308.409 4.7 -6.7 -4.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(3)(4)

238.937 236.687 227.378 7.8 -4.8 -3.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium(3)

281.540 277.348 265.200 7.3 -5.8 -4.4

Medical care

400.648 - 400.133 3.6 -0.1 -

Recreation(5)

95.383 - 94.098 -1.7 -1.3 -

Education and communication(5)

135.535 - 135.822 -3.0 0.2 -

Other goods and services

403.219 - 403.542 2.7 0.1 -
 

Commodity and service group

 
 

All items

256.941 - 256.821 2.6 0.0 -

Commodities

189.151 - 185.039 -0.9 -2.2 -

Commodities less food & beverages

153.316 - 148.625 -1.5 -3.1 -

Nondurables less food & beverages

184.640 - 175.378 -0.7 -5.0 -

Durables

121.863 - 121.296 -2.4 -0.5 -

Services

320.066 - 323.726 4.6 1.1 -
 

Special aggregate indexes

 
 

All items less medical care

250.436 - 250.334 2.5 0.0 -

All items less shelter

229.684 - 226.808 0.0 -1.3 -

Commodities less food

156.533 - 152.049 -1.2 -2.9 -

Nondurables

221.669 - 215.590 -0.4 -2.7 -

Nondurables less food

188.477 - 179.976 -0.3 -4.5 -

Services less rent of shelter(2)

317.792 - 317.486 1.2 -0.1 -

Services less medical care services

311.394 - 315.287 4.6 1.3 -

Energy

270.456 267.678 261.026 3.0 -3.5 -2.5

All items less energy

258.941 - 259.387 2.5 0.2 -

All items less food and energy

258.235 - 259.237 3.1 0.4 -

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) Index is on a November 1982=100 base.
(3) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(4) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(5) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
 

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

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2017