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News Release Information

20-956-SAN
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Contacts

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

Consumer Price Index, Seattle area — April 2020

Area prices were down 0.6 percent over the past two months, up 1.3 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Seattle area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), declined 0.6 percent for the two months ending in April 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that the April decrease was influenced by lower prices for gasoline and apparel. (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 1.3 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.6 percent over the year. Food prices rose 5.2 percent. Energy prices fell 13.9 percent, largely the result of a decrease in the price of gasoline. (See table 1.)

Food

Food prices advanced 2.8 percent for the two months ending in April. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home rose 4.1 percent, and prices for food away from home advanced 1.3 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices rose 5.2 percent. Prices for food at home advanced 5.5 percent since a year ago, and prices for food away from home increased 4.8 percent.

Energy

The energy index decreased 9.4 percent for the two months ending in April. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-16.7 percent). Prices for electricity rose 1.6 percent, and prices for natural gas service moved up 0.2 percent for the same period.

Energy prices fell 13.9 percent over the year, largely due to lower prices for gasoline (-24.0 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service jumped 11.9 percent, and prices for electricity increased 0.4 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy decreased 0.7 percent in the latest two-month period. Lower prices for apparel (-5.1 percent) and recreation (-2.3 percent) were partially offset by higher prices for used cars and trucks (1.8 percent) and medical care (0.3 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.6 percent. Components contributing to the increase included household furnishings and operations (7.4 percent), education and communication (3.4 percent), and shelter (3.1 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were price decreases in apparel (-9.3 percent) and recreation (-4.1 percent).

Table A. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA, CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

February

0.2 2.2 1.0 3.4 0.8 3.3 0.7 2.7 1.0 2.5

April

1.1 2.5 0.8 3.1 0.8 3.3 0.5 2.4 -0.6 1.3

June

0.9 1.8 0.8 3.0 0.8 3.3 0.7 2.3

August

0.3 2.1 -0.2 2.5 -0.3 3.1 0.6 3.2

October

0.0 2.4 0.5 3.0 0.4 3.1 -0.6 2.2

December

0.0 2.6 0.5 3.5 0.2 2.8 0.3 2.2

The June 2020 Consumer Price Index for the Seattle area is scheduled to be released on July 14, 2020.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on April 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 April 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  www.bls.gov/bls/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-bls-price-indexes.htm#CPI.


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-
Feb.
2020
Mar.
2020
Apr.
2020
Apr.
2019
Feb.
2020
Mar.
2020

Expenditure category

All items

282.115 - 280.484 1.3 -0.6 -

All items (1967=100)

859.996 - 855.025 - - -

Food and beverages

280.295 - 286.133 4.4 2.1 -

Food

283.048 - 290.923 5.2 2.8 -

Food at home

257.367 265.932 267.831 5.5 4.1 0.7

Cereals and bakery products

304.120 - 317.045 -0.1 4.2 -

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

218.083 - 232.225 9.8 6.5 -

Dairy and related products

225.360 - 228.942 7.5 1.6 -

Fruits and vegetables

407.729 - 404.772 0.1 -0.7 -

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

314.902 - 342.323 12.8 8.7 -

Other food at home

212.268 - 222.158 5.5 4.7 -

Food away from home

322.472 - 326.660 4.8 1.3 -

Food away from home

322.472 - 326.660 4.8 1.3 -

Alcoholic beverages

248.019 - 236.020 -3.1 -4.8 -

Housing

339.051 - 339.029 3.7 0.0 -

Shelter

390.166 388.354 390.109 3.1 0.0 0.5

Rent of primary residence(2)

398.410 399.392 400.789 3.4 0.6 0.3

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

411.441 412.176 413.375 4.3 0.5 0.3

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

411.441 412.176 413.375 4.3 0.5 0.3

Fuels and utilities

278.520 - 280.128 2.8 0.6 -

Household energy

246.638 246.417 249.108 1.9 1.0 1.1

Energy services(2)

291.553 291.679 295.169 2.4 1.2 1.2

Electricity(2)

316.538 316.538 321.535 0.4 1.6 1.6

Utility (piped) gas service(2)

169.458 169.760 169.760 11.9 0.2 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

184.744 - 184.163 7.4 -0.3 -

Apparel

124.623 - 118.257 -9.3 -5.1 -

Transportation

223.400 - 213.554 -5.9 -4.4 -

Private transportation

235.689 - 227.142 -4.8 -3.6 -

New and used motor vehicles(4)

100.091 - - - - -

New vehicles(1)

202.632 - - - - -

Used cars and trucks(1)

312.317 - 318.029 -1.1 1.8 -

Motor fuel

345.409 344.333 287.649 -23.9 -16.7 -16.5

Gasoline (all types)

351.963 351.002 293.277 -24.0 -16.7 -16.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

379.619 379.303 315.445 -24.7 -16.9 -16.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

287.582 289.175 246.930 -19.0 -14.1 -14.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

331.088 327.121 278.048 -21.2 -16.0 -15.0

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

576.371 - 576.371 -1.3 0.0 -

Medical care

413.182 - 414.474 2.2 0.3 -

Recreation(6)

97.615 - 95.375 -4.1 -2.3 -

Education and communication(6)

141.822 - 140.886 3.4 -0.7 -

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

1,696.176 - 1,682.370 7.8 -0.8 -

Other goods and services

422.569 - - - - -

Commodity and service group

All items

282.115 - 280.484 1.3 -0.6 -

Commodities

196.308 - 195.138 0.2 -0.6 -

Commodities less food & beverages

155.809 - 151.509 -2.9 -2.8 -

Nondurables less food & beverages

190.103 - 179.826 -8.3 -5.4 -

Durables

121.347 - 121.876 4.2 0.4 -

Services

362.291 - 360.232 1.9 -0.6 -

Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

276.244 - 274.468 1.3 -0.6 -

All items less shelter

240.777 - 238.623 0.3 -0.9 -

Commodities less food

159.452 - 154.822 -3.0 -2.9 -

Nondurables

233.290 - 231.096 -1.1 -0.9 -

Nondurables less food

194.817 - 184.417 -7.9 -5.3 -

Services less rent of shelter(3)

336.992 - 332.799 0.5 -1.2 -

Services less medical care services

354.597 - 352.587 2.0 -0.6 -

Energy

303.003 302.338 274.629 -13.9 -9.4 -9.2

All items less energy

283.884 - 283.463 2.2 -0.1 -

All items less food and energy

284.288 - 282.362 1.6 -0.7 -

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, May 12, 2020