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News Release Information

20-1723-SAN
Friday, September 11, 2020

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

Consumer Price Index, Anchorage area – August 2020

Area prices were up 0.8 percent over the past two months, down 1.5 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Anchorage area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased 0.8 percent for the two months ending in August 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that the August increase was influenced by higher prices for medical care and motor vehicle insurance. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U declined 1.5 percent. The index for all items less food and energy decreased 2.0 percent over the year. Energy prices fell 10.7 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. Food prices rose 6.2 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices edged down 0.2 percent for the two months ending in August largely due to falling prices for dairy and related products; meats, poultry, fish and eggs; and fruits and vegetables. (See table 1.) Conversely, prices for cereals and bakery products rose. Prices for food at home decreased 0.5 percent, but prices for food away from home advanced 0.4 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices rose 6.2 percent. Prices for food at home increased 9.2 percent since a year ago, and prices for food away from home advanced 1.7 percent.

Energy

The energy index advanced 1.1 percent for the two months ending in August. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for electricity (2.6 percent). Prices for gasoline increased 1.6 percent, but prices for natural gas service decreased 1.7 percent for the same period.

Energy prices fell 10.7 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-17.3 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service decreased 1.8 percent, and prices for electricity declined 6.9 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for motor vehicle insurance (19.5 percent) and medical care (2.5 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for recreation (-0.5 percent) and apparel (-0.5 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy decreased 2.0 percent. Components contributing to the decrease included apparel (-10.1 percent) and shelter (-4.4 percent). Partly offsetting the decreases were price increases in medical care (7.7 percent) and household furnishings and operations (5.8 percent).

The October 2020 Consumer Price Index for the Anchorage area is scheduled to be released on November 12, 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 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 Urban Alaska area covered in this release consists of Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the State of Alaska.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods

Urban Alaska (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group

Indexes Percent change from-
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020
Aug.
2020
Aug.
2019
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020

Expenditure category

All items

225.245 - 226.984 -1.5 0.8 -

All items (1967=100)

601.210 - 605.851 - - -

Food and beverages

228.063 - 227.530 5.2 -0.2 -

Food

236.142 - 235.739 6.2 -0.2 -

Food at home

234.738 231.731 233.463 9.2 -0.5 0.7

Cereals and bakery products

236.592 - 246.746 12.9 4.3 -

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

235.378 - 231.294 17.1 -1.7 -

Dairy and related products

232.260 - 222.320 7.6 -4.3 -

Fruits and vegetables

356.703 - 348.073 2.7 -2.4 -

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

151.885 - 151.837 0.9 0.0 -

Other food at home

192.906 - 193.789 10.2 0.5 -

Food away from home

235.379 - 236.425 1.7 0.4 -

Alcoholic beverages

151.591 - 150.090 -5.5 -1.0 -

Housing

204.541 - 205.257 -3.4 0.4 -

Shelter

202.944 203.814 203.582 -4.4 0.3 -0.1

Rent of primary residence(2)

198.700 199.707 199.719 -0.5 0.5 0.0

Owners' equiv. rent of residences(2)

204.173 204.435 204.530 -0.6 0.2 0.0

Owners' equiv. rent of primary residence(2)

204.173 204.435 204.530 -0.6 0.2 0.0

Fuels and utilities

344.526 - 346.614 -3.0 0.6 -

Household energy

355.994 358.285 358.352 -4.5 0.7 0.0

Energy services

396.980 399.240 399.240 -4.5 0.6 0.0

Electricity

333.116 341.708 341.708 -6.9 2.6 0.0

Utility (piped) gas service

483.350 474.924 474.924 -1.8 -1.7 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

135.303 - 135.752 5.8 0.3 -

Apparel

140.306 - 139.575 -10.1 -0.5 -

Transportation

206.323 - 212.223 -6.9 2.9 -

Private transportation

214.264 - 221.047 -7.3 3.2 -

New and used motor vehicles(3)

- - - - - -

New vehicles(1)

- - - - - -

Used cars and trucks(1)

255.927 - 278.455 2.7 8.8 -

Motor fuel

195.060 198.055 198.154 -17.6 1.6 0.0

Gasoline (all types)

196.338 199.411 199.539 -17.3 1.6 0.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

188.111 191.073 191.248 -17.6 1.7 0.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

191.517 194.562 194.010 -16.8 1.3 -0.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

206.439 209.553 209.503 -15.5 1.5 0.0

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

759.741 - 908.148 -9.9 19.5 -

Medical care

654.672 - 670.989 7.7 2.5 -

Recreation(3)

126.470 - 125.859 -0.7 -0.5 -

Education and communication(3)

113.493 - 114.680 -0.2 1.0 -

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

753.879 - 760.757 4.3 0.9 -

Other goods and services

366.174 - 368.236 1.7 0.6 -

Commodity and service group

All items

225.245 - 226.984 -1.5 0.8 -

Commodities

182.459 - 183.599 -0.7 0.6 -

Commodities less food & beverages

159.246 - 161.196 -4.3 1.2 -

Nondurables less food & beverages

197.873 - 198.663 -7.0 0.4 -

Durables

125.260 - 127.861 -1.3 2.1 -

Services

262.036 - 264.312 -2.0 0.9 -

Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

210.490 - 211.764 -2.3 0.6 -

All items less shelter

234.494 - 236.809 -0.1 1.0 -

Commodities less food

159.274 - 161.045 -4.4 1.1 -

Nondurables

214.674 - 214.745 -0.3 0.0 -

Nondurables less food

194.909 - 195.427 -6.8 0.3 -

Services less rent of shelter(2)

359.338 - 364.644 0.8 1.5 -

Services less medical care services

239.180 - 240.618 -3.4 0.6 -

Energy

262.636 265.352 265.438 -10.7 1.1 0.0

All items less energy

223.419 - 225.098 -0.8 0.8 -

All items less food and energy

221.528 - 223.584 -2.0 0.9 -

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a December 1978=100 base.
(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.

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

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, September 11, 2020