Western Information Office

News Release Information


Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Consumer Price Index, West Region — September 2014

Area prices were up 0.1 percent over the past month, up 2.0 percent from a year ago

Prices in the West Region, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), inched up 0.1 percent in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) The September increase was influenced by higher prices for shelter and apparel. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the all items CPI-U advanced 2.0 percent. (See chart 1.) Energy prices rose 0.5 percent, largely the result of increases in prices for natural gas service. The index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.0 percent since September 2013.

Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, West Region, September 2011  September 2014


Food prices inched up 0.1 percent for the month of September. (See table 1.) Prices for food away from home crept up 0.2 percent in September, and prices for food at home edged up 0.1 percent.

Over the year, food prices advanced 3.3 percent. Prices for food at home rose 3.8 percent since a year ago, and prices for food away from home increased 2.6 percent.


The energy index declined 1.6 percent over the month. The decrease was primarily due to lower prices for gasoline (-2.9 percent). Prices for electricity declined 0.6 percent in September, but prices for natural gas service rose 3.1 percent.

Energy prices rose 0.5 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for natural gas service (14.5 percent), though prices paid for electricity also advanced, up 2.3 percent. In contrast, prices for gasoline decreased 2.5 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy advanced 0.3 percent in September. Higher prices for categories such as apparel (2.8 percent) and shelter (0.3 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for used cars and trucks (-1.5 percent) and household furnishings and operations (-0.2 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 2.0 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (3.4 percent) and medical care (2.4 percent). Partly offsetting the increases were annual price declines for household furnishings and operations (-1.5 percent) and new and used motor vehicles (-1.1 percent).

Table A. West Region CPI-U monthly and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual


0.6 0.1 0.3 1.9 0.5 1.4 0.4 2.6 0.3 1.7 0.3 1.7


0.5 0.3 0.1 1.4 0.6 1.9 0.4 2.5 0.8 2.0 0.4 1.3


0.1 -0.5 0.3 1.6 0.9 2.6 0.9 2.4 0.4 1.5 0.6 1.5


0.3 -0.7 0.2 1.5 0.6 3.0 0.2 2.1 0.0 1.3 0.3 1.8


0.3 -1.1 0.1 1.3 0.3 3.2 0.2 2.0 0.2 1.3 0.6 2.3


0.6 -1.4 -0.1 0.6 -0.2 3.1 -0.2 2.0 0.1 1.5 0.1 2.3


-0.2 -2.0 0.1 0.8 -0.1 2.9 -0.3 1.8 0.0 1.9 0.1 2.3


0.2 -1.3 0.1 0.7 0.2 3.0 0.5 2.1 0.1 1.5 -0.1 2.1


0.2 -0.8 -0.1 0.5 0.4 3.5 0.5 2.2 0.2 1.3 0.1 2.0


0.1 -0.3 0.1 0.6 0.0 3.4 0.4 2.5 -0.1 0.9


-0.3 1.2 0.0 0.9 -0.2 3.2 -0.7 1.9 -0.4 1.3


-0.2 2.2 0.2 1.3 -0.3 2.7 -0.5 1.7 0.0 1.8


In September, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) was 235.974, up 0.1 percent from August. The CPI-W increased 1.9 percent over the year.

The October 2014 Consumer Price Index for the West Region is scheduled to be released on November 20, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. (PDT).

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 West Region covered in this release is comprised of the following thirteen states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Please click here for a text formatted copy of the table issued with this release.

Last Modified Date: October 22, 2014