Mid-Atlantic Information Office

News Release Information

12-1251-PHI

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:

Consumer Price Index, Northeast Region – May 2012

Regional Prices Down 0.1 Percent Over the Month; Up 1.7 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Northeast region inched down 0.1 percent in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent decrease was due to a one-month decline in the energy index, down 2.7 percent. Nearly offsetting the lower energy prices were increases in the all items less food and energy index (0.2 percent) and the food index (0.5 percent). (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 1.7 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The all items less food and energy component advanced 2.3 percent. The food component also rose, up 3.4 percent, while energy prices fell 5.2 percent since May 2011. (See table 1.)

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

Food

Following three consecutive months of unchanged prices, the food index rose 0.5 percent in May. Prices for both food at home and food away from home increased over the month, up 0.6 and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Over the year, the food index advanced 3.4 percent. Prices were higher for both the food at home (3.7 percent) and food away from home (2.9 percent) components since last May.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 2.7 percent in May, due largely to a 3.3-percent decline in gasoline prices. Utility (piped) gas service prices also fell over the month, down 7.8 percent—the index’s largest one-month decrease since May 2009. Moderating the recent decline in the energy index were higher prices for electricity, up 1.2 percent over the month.

The energy index fell 5.2 percent over the year—the largest 12-month decline since October 2009—as its three largest components all recorded decreases. The recent decrease was led by lower gasoline prices, down 4.3 percent—their first 12-month decline since October 2009. Utility (piped) gas service prices recorded their 19th consecutive over-the-year decrease, down 13.9 percent since May 2011, and electricity prices recorded their 7th, down 3.6 percent.

All items less food and energy

Over the month, the all items less food and energy index edged up 0.2 percent. The recent rise was led by higher prices for shelter (0.4 percent), particularly those for lodging away from home. Prices for used cars and trucks also increased, up 1.6 percent, as did those for medical care, up 0.3 percent. Lower prices for apparel (-0.8 percent) and new vehicles (-0.5 percent) helped to moderate the advance in the all items less food and energy index since April.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent over the year. The 12-month advance was led by higher shelter prices (2.4 percent), particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (2.3 percent). Widespread price increases among other components, including medical care (3.6 percent) and apparel (5.2 percent), also contributed to the rise in the all items less food and energy index since May 2011.

The June 2012 Consumer Price Index for the Northeast region is scheduled to be released on July 17, 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 0.3 2.3

May

0.5 2.3 0.9 4.3 0.1 -0.8 0.2 2.6 0.5 3.2 -0.1 1.7

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
Mar.
2012
Apr.
2012
May
2012
May
2011
Mar.
2012
Apr.
2012

All items

Jump to page with historical data
245.125 245.850 245.709 1.7 0.2 -0.1

All items (December 1977 = 100)

Jump to page with historical data
385.997 387.138 386.917

Food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
238.911 238.835 240.018 3.2 0.5 0.5

Food

Jump to page with historical data
238.732 238.657 239.892 3.4 0.5 0.5

Food at home

Jump to page with historical data
238.560 238.223 239.676 3.7 0.5 0.6

Food away from home

Jump to page with historical data
241.987 242.298 243.228 2.9 0.5 0.4

Alcoholic beverages

Jump to page with historical data
239.942 239.846 240.264 1.4 0.1 0.2

Housing

Jump to page with historical data
250.557 250.511 250.640 1.3 0.0 0.1

Shelter

Jump to page with historical data
300.544 300.873 301.935 2.4 0.5 0.4

Rent of primary residence (1)

Jump to page with historical data
298.057 298.710 299.623 2.6 0.5 0.3

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

Jump to page with historical data
312.312 312.761 313.152 2.3 0.3 0.1

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

Jump to page with historical data
312.225 312.667 313.059 2.3 0.3 0.1

Fuels and utilities

Jump to page with historical data
219.967 217.641 214.273 -4.4 -2.6 -1.5

Household energy

Jump to page with historical data
200.456 197.928 194.001 -6.0 -3.2 -2.0

Energy services (1)

Jump to page with historical data
185.011 182.657 179.646 -7.5 -2.9 -1.6

Electricity (1)

Jump to page with historical data
183.221 181.762 183.893 -3.6 0.4 1.2

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

Jump to page with historical data
177.596 173.523 159.995 -13.9 -9.9 -7.8

Household furnishings and operations

Jump to page with historical data
127.945 128.419 128.027 0.3 0.1 -0.3

Apparel

Jump to page with historical data
131.208 132.085 130.990 5.2 -0.2 -0.8

Transportation

Jump to page with historical data
217.010 220.249 218.237 0.1 0.6 -0.9

Private transportation

Jump to page with historical data
210.717 213.735 211.394 -0.1 0.3 -1.1

New and used motor vehicles (3)

Jump to page with historical data
98.964 99.601 99.566 1.1 0.6 0.0

New vehicles

Jump to page with historical data
142.784 143.557 142.829 1.3 0.0 -0.5

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

Jump to page with historical data
98.953 99.497 98.990 1.4 0.0 -0.5

New cars (4)

Jump to page with historical data
138.263 139.026 138.692 0.9 0.3 -0.2

Used cars and trucks

Jump to page with historical data
157.903 160.396 162.940 4.8 3.2 1.6

Motor fuel

Jump to page with historical data
316.289 327.196 316.518 -4.2 0.1 -3.3

Gasoline (all types)

Jump to page with historical data
315.029 326.070 315.391 -4.3 0.1 -3.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

Jump to page with historical data
317.467 328.640 317.531 -4.4 0.0 -3.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

Jump to page with historical data
318.818 329.856 319.824 -4.0 0.3 -3.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

Jump to page with historical data
300.644 311.109 302.204 -3.8 0.5 -2.9

Medical care

Jump to page with historical data
433.803 435.762 437.270 3.6 0.8 0.3

Medical care commodities

Jump to page with historical data
365.805 365.345 366.928 3.2 0.3 0.4

Medical care services

Jump to page with historical data
450.427 453.330 454.767 3.8 1.0 0.3

Professional services

Jump to page with historical data
340.473 341.129 342.258 1.8 0.5 0.3

Recreation (3)

Jump to page with historical data
119.597 119.606 119.673 1.6 0.1 0.1

Education and communication (3)

Jump to page with historical data
134.562 134.626 134.814 1.5 0.2 0.1

Other goods and services

Jump to page with historical data
426.251 426.733 426.180 2.4 0.0 -0.1

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Jump to page with historical data
195.456 196.580 195.754 1.5 0.2 -0.4

Commodities less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
168.791 170.395 168.724 0.5 0.0 -1.0

Nondurables less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
220.153 222.751 219.265 0.2 -0.4 -1.6

Durables

Jump to page with historical data
111.445 112.014 112.177 1.1 0.7 0.1

Services

Jump to page with historical data
293.967 294.320 294.827 1.9 0.3 0.2

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Jump to page with historical data
226.730 227.607 227.022 1.4 0.1 -0.3

All items less medical care

Jump to page with historical data
236.759 237.434 237.232 1.6 0.2 -0.1

Commodities less food

Jump to page with historical data
171.658 173.225 171.601 0.5 0.0 -0.9

Nondurables

Jump to page with historical data
230.913 232.280 230.952 1.6 0.0 -0.6

Nondurables less food

Jump to page with historical data
221.319 223.776 220.494 0.3 -0.4 -1.5

Services less rent of shelter (2)

Jump to page with historical data
297.327 297.721 297.616 1.3 0.1 0.0

Services less medical care services

Jump to page with historical data
283.026 283.238 283.691 1.7 0.2 0.2

Energy

Jump to page with historical data
248.826 251.834 245.110 -5.2 -1.5 -2.7

All items less energy

Jump to page with historical data
247.083 247.573 248.130 2.5 0.4 0.2

All items less food and energy

Jump to page with historical data
250.152 250.751 251.183 2.3 0.4 0.2

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.