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Friday, April 13, 2012

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Consumer Price Index, Northeast Region – March 2012

Regional Prices Up 0.5 Percent Over the Month; 2.5 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Northeast region rose 0.5 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent advance reflected one-month increases in the indexes for all items less food and energy (0.4 percent) and energy (2.6 percent). The food index was unchanged over the month. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U increased 2.5 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The all items less food and energy component advanced 2.4 percent over the year. Prices also rose for both food and energy, up 3.5 and 2.1 percent, respectively, since March 2011. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Northeast region, March 2009 to March 2012 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

The food index was unchanged for the second straight month in March. Food at home prices inched down 0.1 percent, while food away from home prices inched up 0.1 percent over the month.

Over the year, the food index advanced 3.5 percent. Prices for both the food at home and food away from home components increased since last March, up 3.9 and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 2.6 percent over the month. The recent advance was due largely to a 4.8-percent rise in the gasoline index. Following three months of price declines totaling 8.1 percent, utility (piped) gas service prices increased in March, up 1.4 percent. Moderating the increase in the energy index were lower prices for electricity (-0.9 percent) since February.

The energy index rose 2.1 percent over the year, reflecting an 8.0-percent advance in gasoline prices since March 2011. Moderating the 12-month increase in the energy index were lower prices for utility (piped) gas service (-11.9 percent) and electricity (-3.4 percent).

All items less food and energy

Over the month, the all items less food and energy index increased 0.4 percent, led by a 4.0-percent seasonal advance in apparel prices. Among the other components recording advances, shelter prices edged up 0.3 percent since February. Moderating the increase in the all items less food and energy index were lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-0.3 percent) and recreation (-0.2 percent).

The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.4 percent over the year. The advance reflected widespread increases, led by shelter prices (2.4 percent), particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (2.3 percent). The medical care index, up 3.3 percent, was also among the components contributing to the rise in the all items less food and energy index since March 2011.

The April 2012 Consumer Price Index for the Northeast region is scheduled to be released on May 15, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Table A. Northeast region CPI-U 1-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
1-month 12-month 1-month 12-month 1-month 12-month 1-month 12-month 1-month 12-month 1-month 12-month

January

0.3 2.3 0.4 3.9 0.2 0.5 0.4 3.0 0.4 1.6 0.4 2.9

February

0.4 2.4 0.4 4.0 0.6 0.7 0.0 2.5 0.5 2.0 0.4 2.8

March

0.8 2.6 0.8 3.9 0.2 0.2 0.3 2.6 0.8 2.5 0.5 2.5

April

0.5 2.2 0.5 3.9 0.2 -0.1 0.2 2.5 0.5 2.8

May

0.5 2.3 0.9 4.3 0.1 -0.8 0.2 2.6 0.5 3.2

June

0.4 2.3 1.1 5.0 0.8 -1.2 -0.1 1.7 0.1 3.4

July

0.2 2.0 0.8 5.7 0.1 -1.9 0.0 1.6 0.2 3.6

August

-0.2 1.6 -0.3 5.5 0.3 -1.2 0.1 1.4 0.3 3.8

September

-0.1 2.4 -0.4 5.2 0.1 -0.7 -0.1 1.2 0.1 4.0

October

0.2 3.1 -0.9 4.0 0.0 0.2 0.3 1.5 -0.1 3.6

November

0.6 4.0 -1.6 1.7 0.2 2.0 0.2 1.5 -0.1 3.2

December

0.0 3.8 -0.9 0.7 -0.1 2.8 0.0 1.6 -0.3 2.9

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 Northeast region is comprised of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; TDD message referral phone number: 1-800-877-8339.

For personal assistance or further information on Consumer Price Indexes, as well as other Bureau products, contact the Mid-Atlantic Information Office at (215) 597-3282 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Northeast Region, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Jan.
2012
Feb.
2012
Mar.
2012
Mar.
2011
Jan.
2012
Feb.
2012

All items

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242.879 243.850 245.125 2.5 0.9 0.5

All items (December 1977 = 100)

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382.461 383.989 385.997

Food and beverages

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239.006 238.921 238.911 3.3 0.0 0.0

Food

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238.836 238.752 238.732 3.5 0.0 0.0

Food at home

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238.932 238.798 238.560 3.9 -0.2 -0.1

Food away from home

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241.697 241.687 241.987 2.9 0.1 0.1

Alcoholic beverages

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239.904 239.810 239.942 1.8 0.0 0.1

Housing

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249.682 249.965 250.557 1.7 0.4 0.2

Shelter

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299.017 299.704 300.544 2.4 0.5 0.3

Rent of primary residence (1)

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297.481 297.495 298.057 2.3 0.2 0.2

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

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311.295 311.561 312.312 2.3 0.3 0.2

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

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311.211 311.469 312.225 2.3 0.3 0.2

Fuels and utilities

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220.885 219.282 219.967 -2.4 -0.4 0.3

Household energy

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201.701 199.724 200.456 -3.6 -0.6 0.4

Energy services (1)

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189.159 185.303 185.011 -6.1 -2.2 -0.2

Electricity (1)

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186.315 184.795 183.221 -3.4 -1.7 -0.9

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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183.690 175.205 177.596 -11.9 -3.3 1.4

Household furnishings and operations

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127.863 128.278 127.945 1.8 0.1 -0.3

Apparel

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124.574 126.113 131.208 4.2 5.3 4.0

Transportation

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210.720 213.500 217.010 4.0 3.0 1.6

Private transportation

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204.479 207.320 210.717 4.3 3.1 1.6

New and used motor vehicles (3)

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98.877 98.793 98.964 1.9 0.1 0.2

New vehicles

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142.721 142.675 142.784 2.6 0.0 0.1

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

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98.906 98.877 98.953 2.6 0.0 0.1

New cars (4)

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138.530 138.331 138.263 2.2 -0.2 0.0

Used cars and trucks

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156.487 156.228 157.903 4.8 0.9 1.1

Motor fuel

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288.153 302.025 316.289 8.0 9.8 4.7

Gasoline (all types)

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286.730 300.700 315.029 8.0 9.9 4.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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288.384 302.883 317.467 8.0 10.1 4.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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291.372 304.351 318.818 8.2 9.4 4.8

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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275.607 287.812 300.644 8.0 9.1 4.5

Medical care

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432.393 433.449 433.803 3.3 0.3 0.1

Medical care commodities

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364.959 365.375 365.805 3.3 0.2 0.1

Medical care services

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448.821 450.113 450.427 3.3 0.4 0.1

Professional services

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341.005 341.037 340.473 1.7 -0.2 -0.2

Recreation (3)

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119.038 119.782 119.597 2.4 0.5 -0.2

Education and communication (3)

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134.604 134.554 134.562 1.0 0.0 0.0

Other goods and services

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422.311 424.249 426.251 3.1 0.9 0.5

Commodity and service group

Commodities

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191.806 193.405 195.456 3.5 1.9 1.1

Commodities less food and beverages

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163.648 165.919 168.791 3.7 3.1 1.7

Nondurables less food and beverages

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210.315 214.668 220.153 4.5 4.7 2.6

Durables

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111.086 111.236 111.445 2.1 0.3 0.2

Services

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293.104 293.418 293.967 1.9 0.3 0.2

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

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224.183 225.283 226.730 2.6 1.1 0.6

All items less medical care

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234.502 235.456 236.759 2.5 1.0 0.6

Commodities less food

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166.628 168.846 171.658 3.6 3.0 1.7

Nondurables

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225.642 227.954 230.913 3.9 2.3 1.3

Nondurables less food

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211.994 216.114 221.319 4.4 4.4 2.4

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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297.214 297.089 297.327 1.4 0.0 0.1

Services less medical care services

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282.229 282.468 283.026 1.8 0.3 0.2

Energy

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237.953 242.509 248.826 2.1 4.6 2.6

All items less energy

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245.758 246.331 247.083 2.6 0.5 0.3

All items less food and energy

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248.568 249.249 250.152 2.4 0.6 0.4

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) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

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