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16-439-DAL
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

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Consumer Price Index, Houston-Galveston-Brazoria – February 2016

Area prices rise 0.7 percent in January and February; up 2.0 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Houston area rose 0.7 percent in January and February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that the increase was the result of a 1.5-percent advance in the index for all items less food and energy, as prices fell for both energy (-7.1 percent) and food (-0.4 percent). (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, short-term changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

During the year ended in February 2016, the all items CPI-U advanced 2.0 percent. (See chart 1.) The index for all items less food and energy increased 3.9 percent over the year, the fastest annual rise since December 2013 (4.3 percent). (See table 1.)

 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, February 2013–February 2016

Food

Local food prices decreased 0.4 percent in January and February, after increasing 0.5 percent in November and December. Among the two components of the index, prices for food at home (grocery stores) declined 0.9 percent, while prices for food away from home edged up 0.2 percent.

From February 2015 to February 2016, the food index rose 0.7 percent, reflecting the combined effects of a 1.4-percent price rise for food away from home and little change in grocery store prices (0.1 percent).

Energy

The energy index declined 7.1 percent in January and February, after decreasing 6.9 percent in November and December. The biggest factor in the current two-month decline was a 13.8-percent decrease in the motor fuel index, though lower natural gas costs also contributed, down 6.8 percent. Electricity prices were little changed, rising 0.3 percent during the period.

During the year ended in February 2016, the energy index fell 16.0-percent as prices decreased for all three energy components. A 23.5-percent drop in motor fuel prices was the biggest factor in the energy decline, though lower natural gas and electricity costs were also major contributors, down 11.6 and 7.7 percent, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.5 percent in January and February, after decreasing 0.5 percent in November and December. Higher prices for shelter, household furnishings and operations, apparel, and airline fares were the leading factors in the current advance. Smaller contributions were made by higher prices for medical care (1.9 percent), recreation (1.7 percent), and other goods and services (0.3 percent).

From February 2015 to February 2016, the index for all items less food and energy rose 3.9 percent. The biggest factor in the annual increase was a 5.6-percent rise in shelter costs, as the indexes rose for both renters’ costs (6.2 percent) and owners’ equivalent rent (5.5 percent). Other contributors to the annual rise included higher prices for household furnishings and operations (13.8 percent), medical care (2.4 percent), and apparel (2.0 percent).

The April 2016 Consumer Price Index for All Items for Houston-Galveston-Brazoria will be released on May 17, 2016.


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 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/pdf/homch17.pdf.

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 Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, Texas, Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) includes Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller Counties.

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,
Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, TX (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group Indexes Percent change from -
 
Dec.
2015
Jan.
2016
Feb.
2016
Feb.
2015
Dec.
2015
Jan.
2016

All items

212.936 - 214.505 2.0 0.7 -

All items (1967 = 100)

682.962 - 687.994      

Food and beverages

225.265 - 224.627 0.8 -0.3 -

Food

225.223 - 224.300 0.7 -0.4 -

Food at home

225.620 225.074 223.653 0.1 -0.9 -0.6

Food away from home

220.377 - 220.716 1.4 0.2 -

Alcoholic beverages

215.618 - 219.256 2.5 1.7 -

Housing

206.035 - 208.584 5.2 1.2 -

Shelter

246.632 248.510 248.732 5.6 0.9 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

239.289 240.843 241.388 6.2 0.9 0.2

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

228.923 230.635 230.610 5.5 0.7 0.0

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

228.923 230.635 230.610 5.5 0.7 0.0

Fuels and utilities

151.864 - 150.545 -6.1 -0.9 -

Household energy

131.333 133.746 130.081 -8.4 -1.0 -2.7

Energy services (1) (3)

128.985 131.504 127.855 -8.3 -0.9 -2.8

Electricity (1)

127.378 130.345 127.720 -7.7 0.3 -2.0

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

126.007 126.002 117.416 -11.6 -6.8 -6.8

Household furnishings and operations

129.144 - 136.536 13.8 5.7 -

Apparel

169.216 - 181.891 2.0 7.5 -

Transportation

169.190 - 166.973 -2.6 -1.3 -

Private transportation

167.498 - 163.732 -3.4 -2.2 -

Motor fuel

161.669 151.469 139.436 -23.5 -13.8 -7.9

Gasoline (all types)

161.391 151.229 139.140 -23.0 -13.8 -8.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

162.674 152.275 139.539 -24.1 -14.2 -8.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

176.334 164.283 153.472 -19.7 -13.0 -6.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

180.149 170.842 160.285 -16.4 -11.0 -6.2

Medical care

446.557 - 455.213 2.4 1.9 -

Recreation (6)

101.154 - 102.851 0.8 1.7 -

Education and communication (6)

125.032 - 125.123 0.5 0.1 -

Other goods and services

389.155 - 390.389 0.5 0.3 -
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

169.059 - 169.035 -1.6 0.0 -

Commodities less food and beverages

141.888 - 142.120 -3.1 0.2 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

179.739 - 177.974 -6.0 -1.0 -

Durables

104.281 - 105.788 0.3 1.4 -

Services

258.425 - 261.438 4.5 1.2 -
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

200.290 - 201.653 0.5 0.7 -

All items less medical care

201.428 - 202.723 2.0 0.6 -

Commodities less food

144.391 - 144.712 -2.9 0.2 -

Nondurables

202.686 - 201.483 -2.4 -0.6 -

Nondurables less food

181.633 - 180.191 -5.5 -0.8 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

269.895 - 273.876 3.5 1.5 -

Services less medical care services

239.221 - 241.986 4.8 1.2 -

Energy

144.962 141.933 134.637 -16.0 -7.1 -5.1

All items less energy

222.583 - 225.368 3.4 1.3 -

All items less food and energy

221.970 - 225.372 3.9 1.5 -

(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) Prior to January 2011 this series was titled Gas (piped) and electricity.
(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: Wednesday, March 16, 2016

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News Release Information

16-439-DAL
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (972) 850-4800

Consumer Price Index, Houston-Galveston-Brazoria – February 2016

Area prices rise 0.7 percent in January and February; up 2.0 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Houston area rose 0.7 percent in January and February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that the increase was the result of a 1.5-percent advance in the index for all items less food and energy, as prices fell for both energy (-7.1 percent) and food (-0.4 percent). (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, short-term changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

During the year ended in February 2016, the all items CPI-U advanced 2.0 percent. (See chart 1.) The index for all items less food and energy increased 3.9 percent over the year, the fastest annual rise since December 2013 (4.3 percent). (See table 1.)

 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, February 2013–February 2016

Food

Local food prices decreased 0.4 percent in January and February, after increasing 0.5 percent in November and December. Among the two components of the index, prices for food at home (grocery stores) declined 0.9 percent, while prices for food away from home edged up 0.2 percent.

From February 2015 to February 2016, the food index rose 0.7 percent, reflecting the combined effects of a 1.4-percent price rise for food away from home and little change in grocery store prices (0.1 percent).

Energy

The energy index declined 7.1 percent in January and February, after decreasing 6.9 percent in November and December. The biggest factor in the current two-month decline was a 13.8-percent decrease in the motor fuel index, though lower natural gas costs also contributed, down 6.8 percent. Electricity prices were little changed, rising 0.3 percent during the period.

During the year ended in February 2016, the energy index fell 16.0-percent as prices decreased for all three energy components. A 23.5-percent drop in motor fuel prices was the biggest factor in the energy decline, though lower natural gas and electricity costs were also major contributors, down 11.6 and 7.7 percent, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.5 percent in January and February, after decreasing 0.5 percent in November and December. Higher prices for shelter, household furnishings and operations, apparel, and airline fares were the leading factors in the current advance. Smaller contributions were made by higher prices for medical care (1.9 percent), recreation (1.7 percent), and other goods and services (0.3 percent).

From February 2015 to February 2016, the index for all items less food and energy rose 3.9 percent. The biggest factor in the annual increase was a 5.6-percent rise in shelter costs, as the indexes rose for both renters’ costs (6.2 percent) and owners’ equivalent rent (5.5 percent). Other contributors to the annual rise included higher prices for household furnishings and operations (13.8 percent), medical care (2.4 percent), and apparel (2.0 percent).

The April 2016 Consumer Price Index for All Items for Houston-Galveston-Brazoria will be released on May 17, 2016.


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 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/pdf/homch17.pdf.

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 Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, Texas, Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) includes Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller Counties.

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,
Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, TX (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Item and Group Indexes Percent change from -
 
Dec.
2015
Jan.
2016
Feb.
2016
Feb.
2015
Dec.
2015
Jan.
2016

All items

212.936 - 214.505 2.0 0.7 -

All items (1967 = 100)

682.962 - 687.994      

Food and beverages

225.265 - 224.627 0.8 -0.3 -

Food

225.223 - 224.300 0.7 -0.4 -

Food at home

225.620 225.074 223.653 0.1 -0.9 -0.6

Food away from home

220.377 - 220.716 1.4 0.2 -

Alcoholic beverages

215.618 - 219.256 2.5 1.7 -

Housing

206.035 - 208.584 5.2 1.2 -

Shelter

246.632 248.510 248.732 5.6 0.9 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

239.289 240.843 241.388 6.2 0.9 0.2

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

228.923 230.635 230.610 5.5 0.7 0.0

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

228.923 230.635 230.610 5.5 0.7 0.0

Fuels and utilities

151.864 - 150.545 -6.1 -0.9 -

Household energy

131.333 133.746 130.081 -8.4 -1.0 -2.7

Energy services (1) (3)

128.985 131.504 127.855 -8.3 -0.9 -2.8

Electricity (1)

127.378 130.345 127.720 -7.7 0.3 -2.0

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

126.007 126.002 117.416 -11.6 -6.8 -6.8

Household furnishings and operations

129.144 - 136.536 13.8 5.7 -

Apparel

169.216 - 181.891 2.0 7.5 -

Transportation

169.190 - 166.973 -2.6 -1.3 -

Private transportation

167.498 - 163.732 -3.4 -2.2 -

Motor fuel

161.669 151.469 139.436 -23.5 -13.8 -7.9

Gasoline (all types)

161.391 151.229 139.140 -23.0 -13.8 -8.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

162.674 152.275 139.539 -24.1 -14.2 -8.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

176.334 164.283 153.472 -19.7 -13.0 -6.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

180.149 170.842 160.285 -16.4 -11.0 -6.2

Medical care

446.557 - 455.213 2.4 1.9 -

Recreation (6)

101.154 - 102.851 0.8 1.7 -

Education and communication (6)

125.032 - 125.123 0.5 0.1 -

Other goods and services

389.155 - 390.389 0.5 0.3 -
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

169.059 - 169.035 -1.6 0.0 -

Commodities less food and beverages

141.888 - 142.120 -3.1 0.2 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

179.739 - 177.974 -6.0 -1.0 -

Durables

104.281 - 105.788 0.3 1.4 -

Services

258.425 - 261.438 4.5 1.2 -
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

200.290 - 201.653 0.5 0.7 -

All items less medical care

201.428 - 202.723 2.0 0.6 -

Commodities less food

144.391 - 144.712 -2.9 0.2 -

Nondurables

202.686 - 201.483 -2.4 -0.6 -

Nondurables less food

181.633 - 180.191 -5.5 -0.8 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

269.895 - 273.876 3.5 1.5 -

Services less medical care services

239.221 - 241.986 4.8 1.2 -

Energy

144.962 141.933 134.637 -16.0 -7.1 -5.1

All items less energy

222.583 - 225.368 3.4 1.3 -

All items less food and energy

221.970 - 225.372 3.9 1.5 -

(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) Prior to January 2011 this series was titled Gas (piped) and electricity.
(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: Wednesday, March 16, 2016