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Consumer Price Index, Anchorage Area - First Half 2011 Area Prices Up 2.5 Percent Over The Past Six Months, Up 2.8 Percent From A Year Ago

Prices in the greater Anchorage area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), advanced 2.5 percent in the first half of 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See table A.) Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that this latest six-month period increase was influenced by higher prices for gasoline and shelter. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, six-month-to-six-month changes may reflect seasonal influences.)

Over the past 12 months, the CPI-U rose 2.8 percent. (See chart 1.) Energy prices advanced 11.5 percent, mainly due to an increase in the price of gasoline. The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.9 percent over the year.

Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Anchorage, First half of 2008 – First half of 2011

Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Anchorage, First half of 2008 – First half of 2011

Food

Food prices increased 2.9 percent in the first half of 2011. (See table 1.) Prices for food at home were up 3.5 percent for the past six months. Prices for food away from home rose 2.3 percent for the same period.

For the year ending in the first half of 2011, food prices advanced 2.8 percent. Prices for food at home moved up 2.7 percent during the past 12 months, and prices for food away from home increased 3.0 percent.

Energy

The energy index increased 10.2 percent since the second half of 2010. This increase was influenced by increases in gasoline (14.6 percent) and electricity (3.5 percent) prices.

Energy prices rose 11.5 percent over the year, strongly influenced by a 16.6 percent increase in gasoline prices and, to a lesser extent, a 3.7 percent increase in utility (piped) gas service prices.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.6 percent from the second half of 2010 to the first half of 2011. Among the index components, price increases were recorded for other goods and services (4.9 percent), medical care (4.2 percent.), household furnishings and operations (2.9 percent), shelter (1.7 percent), and recreation (0.7 percent). By contrast, lower prices were recorded for apparel prices (-1.8 percent) and education and communication (-0.5 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.9 percent. Prices increased for medical care (4.8 percent), other goods and services (3.7 percent), shelter (3.1 percent), household furnishings and operations (2.5 percent), and recreation (2.0 percent). In contrast, lower prices were recorded for apparel (-2.2 percent) and education and communication (-0.3 percent).

Table A. Anchorage CPI-U semi-annual and annual percent changes (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Semi-annual Annual Semi-annual Annual Semi-annual Annual Semi-annual Annual Semi-annual Annual Semi-annual Annual

First Half

1.5 4.2 0.8 1.5 2.5 4.6 -0.7 1.3 0.7 2.5 2.5 2.8

Second Half

0.7 2.2 2.1 2.9 2.0 4.5 1.8 1.1 0.3 1.0    

CPI-W

In the first half of 2011, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) in Anchorage was 199.061, up 2.6 percent. The CPI-W increased 3.0 percent over the year.

The second half of 2011 Consumer Price Index for Anchorage is scheduled to be released mid-February 2012, at 10:00 a.m. (PST).

 

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 87 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 32 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 25,000 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 Anchorage, AK. metropolitan area covered in this release is comprised of Anchorage Borough in the State of Alaska.

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 San Francisco Information Office at (415) 625-2270 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT.

 

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

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