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15-676-BOS Friday, April 17, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Brockton-Nashua - March 2015

Area prices up 1.0 percent over two months; edged up 0.8 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Brockton-Nashua area was up 1.0 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that the two-month increase was mainly due to higher prices for shelter, up 1.3 percent over two months as well as higher prices paid by area consumers for apparel, up 6.8 percent, which also contributed to the overall increase. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bimonthly changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months the Boston CPI-U rose 0.8 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher shelter prices, up 3.1 percent. (See chart 1.)  Lower energy prices paid by area consumers, down 14.2 percent, partially offset the modest increase.

 Chart 1.  Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Boston-Brockton-Nashua,  March 2012 - March 2015

 

Food

Food prices were unchanged since January. Grocery store prices, also known as food at home, edged up 0.1 percent. A drop in the prices for food away from home (-0.2 percent), or restaurant prices, offset this rise.

From March 2014 to March 2015 the index for food rose 1.9 percent mainly due to higher grocery store prices (+2.6 percent) and, to a lesser extent, higher restaurant prices (+0.9 percent).  

Energy

The energy index was up 1.8 percent over the two months, mainly due to gas price increases. Area motorists paid $2.437 per gallon of gasoline in March. This increase was partially offset by lower prices for utility (piped) gas, down 12.1 percent from January.  

Energy prices were down 14.2 percent from a year ago, attributable to lower gasoline prices, down 31.7 percent. Partially offsetting this decline was a 30.5-percent advance in local electricity prices. The March increase in local electricity prices was the largest since a 36.7-percent increase was recorded in February of 2006.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy was up 1.1 percent from January. Increases in the indexes for shelter (+1.3 percent) and apparel (+6.8 percent) led the advance. 

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent, with higher shelter costs, rising 3.1 percent from March 2014, being the main cause of this increase. This marked the 45th consecutive annual increase in the local shelter index. Contributing to the over-the-year rise in the all items less food and energy index were increases in the prices paid for apparel (+8.5 percent) as well as medical care and recreation (+1.8 percent, each).

CPI-W

In March, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 256.929. The CPI-W rose 1.0 percent over two months and edged up 0.4 percent over the year.

The May 2015 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Brockton-Nashua is scheduled to be released on Thursday, June 18, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).


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 change 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 withweights 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 Boston-Brockton-Nashua, Mass.-N.H.-Maine-Conn. consolidated area covered in this release is comprised of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk Counties and parts of Bristol, Hampden, and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts; parts of Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire; part of York County in Maine; and part of Windham County in Connecticut.

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.

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Boston-Brockton-Nashua, Ma.-N.H.-Maine-Conn., (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
 
Historical
data
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015
Mar.
2014
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015

All items

Jump to page with historical data
254.556   257.013 0.8 1.0  

All items (1967 = 100)

Jump to page with historical data
739.873   747.015      
 

Food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
254.439   254.369 1.9 0.0  

Food

Jump to page with historical data
254.776   254.813 1.9 0.0  

Food at home

Jump to page with historical data
246.456 249.168 246.775 2.6 0.1 -1.0

Food away from home

Jump to page with historical data
268.272   267.776 0.9 -0.2  

Alcoholic beverages

Jump to page with historical data
254.365   253.194 1.0 -0.5  
 

Housing

Jump to page with historical data
256.155   258.940 3.0 1.1  

Shelter

Jump to page with historical data
295.784 297.601 299.626 3.1 1.3 0.7

Rent of primary residence (1)

Jump to page with historical data
307.346 308.584 309.395 3.0 0.7 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1) (2) (3)

Jump to page with historical data
317.139 318.735 319.459 3.6 0.7 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2) (3)

Jump to page with historical data
317.139 318.735 319.459 3.6 0.7 0.2

Fuels and utilities

Jump to page with historical data
285.501   282.995 3.2 -0.9  

Household energy

Jump to page with historical data
245.166 241.857 242.720 3.4 -1.0 0.4

Energy services (1)

Jump to page with historical data
255.333 250.975 246.727 11.5 -3.4 -1.7

Electricity (1)

Jump to page with historical data
277.768 277.768 278.362 30.5 0.2 0.2

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

Jump to page with historical data
207.157 194.970 182.007 -20.6 -12.1 -6.6

Household furnishings and operations

Jump to page with historical data
128.224   130.748 1.9 2.0  
 

Apparel

Jump to page with historical data
144.833   154.746 8.5 6.8  
 

Transportation

Jump to page with historical data
182.833   187.388 -10.0 2.5  

Private transportation

Jump to page with historical data
180.855   185.906 -10.5 2.8  

Motor fuel

Jump to page with historical data
194.587 191.189 206.730 -31.7 6.2 8.1

Gasoline (all types)

Jump to page with historical data
192.176 188.823 204.182 -31.7 6.2 8.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

Jump to page with historical data
187.036 183.729 200.132 -32.6 7.0 8.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

Jump to page with historical data
204.163 201.526 213.384 -29.8 4.5 5.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

Jump to page with historical data
200.324 196.122 208.104 -28.4 3.9 6.1
 

Medical care

Jump to page with historical data
598.852   596.534 1.8 -0.4  
 

Recreation (6)

Jump to page with historical data
115.464   116.047 1.8 0.5  
 

Education and communication (6)

Jump to page with historical data
150.755   150.604 1.5 -0.1  
 

Other goods and services

Jump to page with historical data
445.613   443.709 1.5 -0.4  
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

Jump to page with historical data
187.958   191.245 -2.6 1.7  

Commodities less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
152.980   157.898 -5.9 3.2  

Nondurables less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
195.604   203.587 -9.0 4.1  

Durables

Jump to page with historical data
111.149   113.164 -0.1 1.8  

Services

Jump to page with historical data
314.476   316.081 2.9 0.5  
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

Jump to page with historical data
240.982   242.916 -0.3 0.8  

All items less medical care

Jump to page with historical data
241.174   243.756 0.7 1.1  

Commodities less food

Jump to page with historical data
157.023   161.679 -5.4 3.0  

Nondurables

Jump to page with historical data
223.969   227.849 -3.2 1.7  

Nondurables less food

Jump to page with historical data
198.830   205.991 -8.1 3.6  

Services less rent of shelter (2)

Jump to page with historical data
353.013   351.835 2.6 -0.3  

Services less medical care services

Jump to page with historical data
295.042   296.827 3.0 0.6  

Energy

Jump to page with historical data
221.409 218.085 225.327 -14.2 1.8 3.3

All items less energy

Jump to page with historical data
261.386   263.740 2.3 0.9  

All items less food and energy

Jump to page with historical data
263.196   266.022 2.3 1.1  

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) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences, and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(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.
 

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.
 

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 17, 2015

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News Release Information

15-676-BOS Friday, April 17, 2015

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:

Consumer Price Index, Boston-Brockton-Nashua - March 2015

Area prices up 1.0 percent over two months; edged up 0.8 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Brockton-Nashua area was up 1.0 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that the two-month increase was mainly due to higher prices for shelter, up 1.3 percent over two months as well as higher prices paid by area consumers for apparel, up 6.8 percent, which also contributed to the overall increase. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bimonthly changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months the Boston CPI-U rose 0.8 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher shelter prices, up 3.1 percent. (See chart 1.)  Lower energy prices paid by area consumers, down 14.2 percent, partially offset the modest increase.

 Chart 1.  Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Boston-Brockton-Nashua,  March 2012 - March 2015

 

Food

Food prices were unchanged since January. Grocery store prices, also known as food at home, edged up 0.1 percent. A drop in the prices for food away from home (-0.2 percent), or restaurant prices, offset this rise.

From March 2014 to March 2015 the index for food rose 1.9 percent mainly due to higher grocery store prices (+2.6 percent) and, to a lesser extent, higher restaurant prices (+0.9 percent).  

Energy

The energy index was up 1.8 percent over the two months, mainly due to gas price increases. Area motorists paid $2.437 per gallon of gasoline in March. This increase was partially offset by lower prices for utility (piped) gas, down 12.1 percent from January.  

Energy prices were down 14.2 percent from a year ago, attributable to lower gasoline prices, down 31.7 percent. Partially offsetting this decline was a 30.5-percent advance in local electricity prices. The March increase in local electricity prices was the largest since a 36.7-percent increase was recorded in February of 2006.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy was up 1.1 percent from January. Increases in the indexes for shelter (+1.3 percent) and apparel (+6.8 percent) led the advance. 

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent, with higher shelter costs, rising 3.1 percent from March 2014, being the main cause of this increase. This marked the 45th consecutive annual increase in the local shelter index. Contributing to the over-the-year rise in the all items less food and energy index were increases in the prices paid for apparel (+8.5 percent) as well as medical care and recreation (+1.8 percent, each).

CPI-W

In March, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 256.929. The CPI-W rose 1.0 percent over two months and edged up 0.4 percent over the year.

The May 2015 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Brockton-Nashua is scheduled to be released on Thursday, June 18, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).


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 change 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 withweights 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 Boston-Brockton-Nashua, Mass.-N.H.-Maine-Conn. consolidated area covered in this release is comprised of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk Counties and parts of Bristol, Hampden, and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts; parts of Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties in New Hampshire; part of York County in Maine; and part of Windham County in Connecticut.

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.

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Boston-Brockton-Nashua, Ma.-N.H.-Maine-Conn., (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
 
Historical
data
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015
Mar.
2014
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015

All items

Jump to page with historical data
254.556   257.013 0.8 1.0  

All items (1967 = 100)

Jump to page with historical data
739.873   747.015      
 

Food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
254.439   254.369 1.9 0.0  

Food

Jump to page with historical data
254.776   254.813 1.9 0.0  

Food at home

Jump to page with historical data
246.456 249.168 246.775 2.6 0.1 -1.0

Food away from home

Jump to page with historical data
268.272   267.776 0.9 -0.2  

Alcoholic beverages

Jump to page with historical data
254.365   253.194 1.0 -0.5  
 

Housing

Jump to page with historical data
256.155   258.940 3.0 1.1  

Shelter

Jump to page with historical data
295.784 297.601 299.626 3.1 1.3 0.7

Rent of primary residence (1)

Jump to page with historical data
307.346 308.584 309.395 3.0 0.7 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1) (2) (3)

Jump to page with historical data
317.139 318.735 319.459 3.6 0.7 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2) (3)

Jump to page with historical data
317.139 318.735 319.459 3.6 0.7 0.2

Fuels and utilities

Jump to page with historical data
285.501   282.995 3.2 -0.9  

Household energy

Jump to page with historical data
245.166 241.857 242.720 3.4 -1.0 0.4

Energy services (1)

Jump to page with historical data
255.333 250.975 246.727 11.5 -3.4 -1.7

Electricity (1)

Jump to page with historical data
277.768 277.768 278.362 30.5 0.2 0.2

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

Jump to page with historical data
207.157 194.970 182.007 -20.6 -12.1 -6.6

Household furnishings and operations

Jump to page with historical data
128.224   130.748 1.9 2.0  
 

Apparel

Jump to page with historical data
144.833   154.746 8.5 6.8  
 

Transportation

Jump to page with historical data
182.833   187.388 -10.0 2.5  

Private transportation

Jump to page with historical data
180.855   185.906 -10.5 2.8  

Motor fuel

Jump to page with historical data
194.587 191.189 206.730 -31.7 6.2 8.1

Gasoline (all types)

Jump to page with historical data
192.176 188.823 204.182 -31.7 6.2 8.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

Jump to page with historical data
187.036 183.729 200.132 -32.6 7.0 8.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

Jump to page with historical data
204.163 201.526 213.384 -29.8 4.5 5.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

Jump to page with historical data
200.324 196.122 208.104 -28.4 3.9 6.1
 

Medical care

Jump to page with historical data
598.852   596.534 1.8 -0.4  
 

Recreation (6)

Jump to page with historical data
115.464   116.047 1.8 0.5  
 

Education and communication (6)

Jump to page with historical data
150.755   150.604 1.5 -0.1  
 

Other goods and services

Jump to page with historical data
445.613   443.709 1.5 -0.4  
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

Jump to page with historical data
187.958   191.245 -2.6 1.7  

Commodities less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
152.980   157.898 -5.9 3.2  

Nondurables less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
195.604   203.587 -9.0 4.1  

Durables

Jump to page with historical data
111.149   113.164 -0.1 1.8  

Services

Jump to page with historical data
314.476   316.081 2.9 0.5  
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

Jump to page with historical data
240.982   242.916 -0.3 0.8  

All items less medical care

Jump to page with historical data
241.174   243.756 0.7 1.1  

Commodities less food

Jump to page with historical data
157.023   161.679 -5.4 3.0  

Nondurables

Jump to page with historical data
223.969   227.849 -3.2 1.7  

Nondurables less food

Jump to page with historical data
198.830   205.991 -8.1 3.6  

Services less rent of shelter (2)

Jump to page with historical data
353.013   351.835 2.6 -0.3  

Services less medical care services

Jump to page with historical data
295.042   296.827 3.0 0.6  

Energy

Jump to page with historical data
221.409 218.085 225.327 -14.2 1.8 3.3

All items less energy

Jump to page with historical data
261.386   263.740 2.3 0.9  

All items less food and energy

Jump to page with historical data
263.196   266.022 2.3 1.1  

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) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences, and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(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.
 

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.
 

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 17, 2015