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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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Consumer Price Index, Boston-Brockton-Nashua – March 2014

Area prices rose 0.7 percent over two months; up 1.7 percent from a year ago

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Boston-Brockton-Nashua area rose 0.7 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 an increase in the shelter index and to a lesser extent higher energy prices. (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 1.7 percent. The increase was largely attributable to higher prices within the all items less food and energy index, and in particular, higher shelter prices, which rose 3.1 percent. (See chart 1.) Higher prices for electricity and utility (piped) gas, up 17.3 and 19.3 percent, respectively also contributed to the increase.

Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Boston-Brockton-Nashua, March 2011 - March 2014

Food

Food prices edged down 0.2 percent in March, due mainly to lower grocery prices, also known as food at home. Restaurant prices, or food away from home, were up 0.1 percent.

From March 2013 to March 2014, the index for food rose 1.2 percent. Grocery prices led the advance, up 1.4 percent, while restaurant prices were up 0.8 percent.

Energy

The energy index advanced 3.4 percent over the two months. The overall increase in energy prices was largely attributable to an increase in the price of utility (piped) gas, up 16.2 percent in March. To a lesser extent, higher prices for gasoline, up 2.8 percent to an average of $3.567 per gallon, contributed to the overall increase.

Energy prices rose 3.8 percent from a year ago, largely attributable to a sharp increase in electricity prices, up 17.3 percent since last March. Utility (piped) gas prices were also higher locally (19.3 percent). Partially offsetting this rise was a decline in the cost of gasoline (-4.2 percent).

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.6 percent in March, mainly attributable to higher prices for shelter. Prices for medical care (0.7 percent) and apparel (1.4 percent) also contributed to the rise.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.5 percent, with higher shelter costs, rising 3.1 percent from March 2013, being the main cause of this increase. This marked the 33rd consecutive annual increase in the local shelter index. The indexes for education and communication (1.5 percent) and other goods and services (2.0 percent) also rose.

CPI-W

In March, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 256.015. The CPI-W was up 0.7 percent over two months and rose 1.5 percent over the year.

The May 2014 Consumer Price Index for Boston-Brockton-Nashua is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 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 88 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 29 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 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.
2014
Feb.
2014
Mar.
2014
Mar.
2013
Jan.
2014
Feb.
2014

All items

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253.123 254.982 1.7 0.7

All items (1967 = 100)

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735.709 741.113

Food and beverages

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250.148 249.735 1.2 -0.2

Food

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250.557 249.974 1.2 -0.2

Food at home

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241.585 239.317 240.600 1.4 -0.4 0.5

Food away from home

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265.322 265.504 0.8 0.1

Alcoholic beverages

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249.278 250.613 1.0 0.5

Housing

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248.123 251.380 3.7 1.3

Shelter

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287.122 288.560 290.590 3.1 1.2 0.7

Rent of primary residence (1)

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299.633 300.091 300.492 3.2 0.3 0.1

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

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306.878 307.864 308.485 3.1 0.5 0.2

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

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306.878 307.864 308.485 3.1 0.5 0.2

Fuels and utilities

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265.025 274.301 11.0 3.5

Household energy

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225.757 229.547 234.808 12.6 4.0 2.3

Energy services (1)

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210.125 212.155 221.184 17.6 5.3 4.3

Electricity (1)

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213.867 213.872 213.342 17.3 -0.2 -0.2

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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197.345 203.011 229.230 19.3 16.2 12.9

Household furnishings and operations

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129.009 128.259 -1.4 -0.6

Apparel

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140.631 142.599 -1.9 1.4

Transportation

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206.067 208.154 -0.7 1.0

Private transportation

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205.272 207.742 -0.1 1.2

Motor fuel

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294.348 292.268 302.615 -4.2 2.8 3.5

Gasoline (all types)

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290.839 288.704 298.979 -4.2 2.8 3.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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288.244 286.023 297.124 -4.2 3.1 3.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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297.805 295.810 303.823 -4.6 2.0 2.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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284.750 283.051 290.600 -4.4 2.1 2.7

Medical care

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581.779 585.702 -0.3 0.7

Recreation (6)

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113.912 113.996 0.0 0.1

Education and communication (6)

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149.093 148.421 1.5 -0.5

Other goods and services

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434.254 436.987 2.0 0.6

Commodity and service group

Commodities

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195.657 196.321 -0.3 0.3

Commodities less food and beverages

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166.545 167.736 -1.2 0.7

Nondurables less food and beverages

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220.832 223.804 -1.3 1.3

Durables

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113.752 113.284 -1.2 -0.4

Services

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304.198 307.183 2.9 1.0

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

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242.405 243.645 1.0 0.5

All items less medical care

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240.247 242.022 1.8 0.7

Commodities less food

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169.786 170.982 -1.1 0.7

Nondurables

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234.183 235.433 0.0 0.5

Nondurables less food

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221.347 224.159 -1.1 1.3

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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340.218 342.803 2.5 0.8

Services less medical care services

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285.146 288.089 3.3 1.0

Energy

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253.977 255.186 262.622 3.8 3.4 2.9

All items less energy

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256.691 257.930 1.5 0.5

All items less food and energy

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258.396 260.005 1.5 0.6

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: April 15, 2014

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