Area prices were up 0.2 percent over the past month, up 3.6 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 0.2 percent in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) The August increase was influenced by higher prices for shelter and education and communication. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U rose 3.6 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Energy prices jumped 13.4 percent, largely the result of an increase in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy increased 3.1 percent over the year. (See table 1.)

 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, West Region, August 2015-August 2018


Food prices rose 0.3 percent for the month of August. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home and prices for food away from home each rose 0.3 percent for the same period.

Over the year, food prices rose 1.9 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 3.5 percent since a year ago, and prices for food at home rose 0.5 percent.


The energy index edged down 0.2 percent over the month. The decrease was mainly due to lower prices for gasoline (-1.2 percent). Prices for electricity were unchanged, while prices for natural gas service increased 6.1 percent for the same period.

Energy prices jumped 13.4 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for gasoline (21.6 percent). Prices paid for natural gas service increased 5.1 percent, and prices for electricity advanced 2.4 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.2 percent in August. Higher prices for education and communication (0.8 percent), apparel (0.5 percent), and shelter (0.4 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for new vehicles (-0.8 percent), household furnishings and operations (-0.6 percent), and medical care (-0.4 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 3.1 percent. Components contributing to the increase included shelter (4.4 percent) and medical care (2.8 percent). Partly offsetting the increases was a price decline in apparel (-0.4 percent).

Table A. West Region CPI-U monthly and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual Monthly Annual


0.3 1.7 0.3 1.7 -0.3 0.7 0.5 2.6 0.5 2.5 0.5 3.1


0.8 2.0 0.4 1.3 0.6 0.9 0.1 2.1 0.6 3.0 0.5 3.1


0.4 1.5 0.6 1.5 0.8 1.1 0.2 1.5 0.3 3.1 0.4 3.2


0.0 1.3 0.3 1.8 0.3 1.0 0.5 1.8 0.3 2.9 0.4 3.2


0.2 1.3 0.6 2.3 0.8 1.2 0.5 1.5 0.2 2.6 0.5 3.5


0.1 1.5 0.1 2.3 0.0 1.1 0.2 1.6 0.0 2.5 0.2 3.6


0.0 1.9 0.1 2.3 0.3 1.3 0.1 1.4 0.1 2.5 0.1 3.6


0.1 1.5 -0.1 2.1 -0.1 1.3 0.0 1.5 0.2 2.7 0.2 3.6


0.2 1.3 0.1 2.0 -0.2 1.0 0.3 2.0 0.5 2.9


-0.1 0.9 -0.1 2.0 0.0 1.1 0.3 2.3 0.3 2.9


-0.4 1.3 -0.6 1.7 -0.2 1.5 -0.2 2.3 0.0 3.1


0.0 1.8 -0.5 1.3 -0.1 1.8 0.0 2.5 0.1 3.1

The September 2018 Consumer Price Index for the West Region is scheduled to be released on October 11, 2018.


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 93 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 75 urban areas across the country from about 5,000 housing units and approximately 22,000 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 and the BLS Handbook of Methods, Chapter 17, The Consumer Price Index, available on the Internet at

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: (800) 877-8339.

Read full article here: