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News Release Information

20-21-SAN
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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Technical information:
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  • (415) 625-2270

Consumer Price Index, Seattle area — December 2019

Area prices were up 0.3 percent over the past two months, up 2.2 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Seattle area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased 0.3 percent for the two months ending in December 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that the December increase was influenced by higher prices for shelter and recreation. (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 2.2 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.4 percent over the year. Food prices rose 1.6 percent. Energy prices advanced 2.2 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of natural gas service. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices moved down 0.2 percent for the two months ending in December. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home decreased 0.6 percent, but prices for food away from home increased 0.3 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices rose 1.6 percent. Prices away from home advanced 4.0 percent since a year ago, but prices for food at home declined 0.3 percent.

Energy

The energy index decreased 0.6 percent for the two months ending in December. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-2.4 percent). Prices for natural gas service jumped 13.6 percent, but prices for electricity edged down 0.1 percent for the same period.

Energy prices advanced 2.2 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for natural gas service (15.6 percent). Prices paid for electricity rose 1.3 percent, and prices for gasoline moved up 1.2 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.4 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for recreation (4.7 percent) and shelter (0.8 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-4.3 percent), used cars and trucks (-1.4 percent), and apparel (-1.3 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.4 percent. Components contributing to the increase included recreation (3.8 percent) and shelter (3.6 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were decreases in household furnishings and operations (-1.5 percent) and used cars and trucks (-1.4 percent).

Table A. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

February

0.2 1.1 0.2 2.2 1.0 3.4 0.8 3.3 0.7 2.7

April

0.9 0.4 1.1 2.5 0.8 3.1 0.8 3.3 0.5 2.4

June

1.6 1.6 0.9 1.8 0.8 3.0 0.8 3.3 0.7 2.3

August

0.0 1.8 0.3 2.1 -0.2 2.5 -0.3 3.1 0.6 3.2

October

-0.3 1.2 0.0 2.4 0.5 3.0 0.4 3.1 -0.6 2.2

December

-0.2 2.2 0.0 2.6 0.5 3.5 0.2 2.8 0.3 2.2

The February 2020 Consumer Price Index for the Seattle area is scheduled to be released on March 11, 2020.

Consumer Price Index Geographic Revision for 2018

In January 2018, BLS introduced a new geographic area sample for the Consumer Price Index (CPI). As part of the new sample, the index for this area was renamed. Additional information on the geographic revision is available at: www.bls.gov/cpi/additional-resources/geographic-revision-2018.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 94 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 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 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA. metropolitan area covered in this release is comprised of King, Pierce, and Snohomish 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-Bellevue, WA (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group

Indexes Percent change from-
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019
Dec.
2019
Dec.
2018
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019

Expenditure category

All items

278.682 - 279.421 2.2 0.3 -

All items (1967=100)

849.531 - 851.784 - - -

Food and beverages

278.101 - 277.735 1.7 -0.1 -

Food

280.645 - 280.186 1.6 -0.2 -

Food at home

254.663 253.899 253.181 -0.3 -0.6 -0.3

Cereals and bakery products

301.819 - 302.970 0.1 0.4 -

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

215.383 - 210.592 -0.9 -2.2 -

Dairy and related products

225.755 - 226.934 10.3 0.5 -

Fruits and vegetables

401.013 - 394.801 -3.8 -1.5 -

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

296.923 - 295.329 -2.6 -0.5 -

Other food at home

213.991 - 214.756 0.2 0.4 -

Food away from home

320.419 - 321.504 4.0 0.3 -

Food away from home

320.419 - 321.504 4.0 0.3 -

Alcoholic beverages

247.390 - 248.147 2.6 0.3 -

Housing

330.367 - 331.670 3.1 0.4 -

Shelter

382.431 383.475 385.480 3.6 0.8 0.5

Rent of primary residence(2)

391.308 393.437 394.650 3.0 0.9 0.3

Owners' equiv. rent of residences(2)(3)

407.103 408.159 408.981 4.3 0.5 0.2

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

407.103 408.159 408.981 4.3 0.5 0.2

Fuels and utilities

268.771 - 272.428 3.1 1.4 -

Household energy

238.560 238.949 244.002 3.7 2.3 2.1

Energy services(2)

281.294 281.563 288.149 3.9 2.4 2.3

Electricity(2)

311.850 311.663 311.663 1.3 -0.1 0.0

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

149.111 150.295 169.458 15.6 13.6 12.8

Household furnishings and operations

176.246 - 168.742 -1.5 -4.3 -

Apparel

126.699 - 125.011 2.6 -1.3 -

Transportation

224.569 - 221.953 -0.8 -1.2 -

Private transportation

237.087 - 235.463 -0.1 -0.7 -

New and used motor vehicles(4)

97.577 - 97.803 -3.1 0.2 -

New vehicles(1)

193.986 - 194.724 -3.7 0.4 -

Used cars and trucks(1)

316.678 - 312.210 -1.4 -1.4 -

Motor fuel

367.923 383.434 359.459 1.3 -2.3 -6.3

Gasoline (all types)

375.540 391.043 366.383 1.2 -2.4 -6.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

407.072 423.737 396.170 0.9 -2.7 -6.5

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

298.997 312.511 302.839 5.5 1.3 -3.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

347.000 361.650 340.389 2.1 -1.9 -5.9

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

576.371 - 576.371 -1.3 0.0 -

Medical care

411.583 - 411.748 3.2 0.0 -

Recreation(6)

97.218 - 101.751 3.8 4.7 -

Education and communication(6)

141.898 - 142.460 1.8 0.4 -

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

1,684.599 - 1,696.176 7.6 0.7 -

Other goods and services

417.340 - 418.476 0.5 0.3 -

Commodity and service group

All items

278.682 - 279.421 2.2 0.3 -

Commodities

194.923 - 192.419 -0.3 -1.3 -

Commodities less food & beverages

154.625 - 151.379 -1.7 -2.1 -

Nondurables less food & beverages

193.290 - 189.792 0.0 -1.8 -

Durables

116.895 - 113.970 -3.8 -2.5 -

Services

356.979 - 360.917 3.6 1.1 -

Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

272.715 - 273.484 2.2 0.3 -

All items less shelter

238.980 - 238.811 1.4 -0.1 -

Commodities less food

158.388 - 155.237 -1.5 -2.0 -

Nondurables

233.946 - 231.864 0.9 -0.9 -

Nondurables less food

197.810 - 194.548 0.2 -1.6 -

Services less rent of shelter(3)

334.477 - 339.244 3.5 1.4 -

Services less medical care services

349.235 - 353.312 3.5 1.2 -

Energy

310.855 319.393 308.868 2.2 -0.6 -3.3

All items less energy

279.885 - 280.772 2.2 0.3 -

All items less food and energy

280.017 - 281.128 2.4 0.4 -

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a November 1977=100 base.
(2) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(3) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) 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: Tuesday, January 14, 2020