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15-2425-PHI
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – November 2015

Area prices down 0.3 percent since September; up 0.6 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Baltimore decreased 0.3 percent over the last two months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted the decline was led by a 5.2-percent decrease in the energy index. The food index inched down 0.1 percent, while the all items less food and energy index inched up 0.1 percent since September. (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 0.6 percent, due largely to a 1.7-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since November 2014, the food index rose 1.0 percent, while the energy index dropped 12.7 percent. (See table 1.)

 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Washington, D.C., November 2012-November 2015

Food

After increasing 1.4 percent from July to September, the food index inched down 0.1 percent over the last two months. Lower prices for nonfrozen noncarbonated juices and drinks, fresh fish and seafood, and other pork including roasts and picnics contributed to the 0.4-percent decrease in the food at home index. The food away from home index rose 0.3 percent since September.

Food prices rose 1.0 percent over the year, as prices for both components also increased. Prices for food away from home advanced 1.9 percent and those for food at home edged up 0.2 percent since last November.

Energy

Since September, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 5.2 percent, mostly due to a 7.3-percent decrease in gasoline prices. Electricity and utility (piped) gas service prices were also lower over the last two months, down 3.7 and 2.5 percent, respectively.

Energy prices fell 12.7 percent over the year, led by a 24.8-percent drop in gasoline prices. Utility (piped) gas service prices also declined since November 2014, down 8.7 percent, while electricity prices rose 3.7 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.1 percent since September. The increase was due largely to an increase in shelter prices (0.5 percent), as the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index was up 0.6 percent. Lower prices for apparel (-2.7 percent) and recreation (-0.9 percent), among others, nearly offset the overall rise in the all items less food and energy index.

Since November 2014, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent. The increase was due largely to an over-the-year rise in prices for shelter (2.0 percent), as well as those for medical care (5.6 percent) and education and communication (3.3 percent). Lower prices for apparel (-1.7 percent) moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index since last November.

Table A. Washington, D.C. CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

1.0 2.3 0.4 2.7 0.1 1.8 0.4 1.9 -1.0 -0.2

March

1.2 3.0 1.3 2.8 0.9 1.4 0.6 1.6 1.0 0.2

May

1.0 3.9 0.1 1.8 -0.2 1.2 0.4 2.2 0.6 0.4

July

0.1 4.1 -0.2 1.4 0.5 1.9 0.0 1.7 -0.2 0.2

September

-0.1 3.4 1.3 2.8 0.6 1.2 0.2 1.3 0.5 0.5

November

-0.1 3.3 -0.7 2.1 -0.2 1.7 -0.4 1.2 -0.3 0.6

The Consumer Price Index for December 2015 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).


Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is published bi-monthly. 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 approximately 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 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 Washington-Baltimore, D.C.-Md.-Va.-W.Va., Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area includes the District of Columbia; Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, and Washington in Maryland; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park and the counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, King George, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren in Virginia; and the counties of Berkeley and Jefferson in West Virginia.

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.

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Washington-Baltimore, D.C.-Md.-Va.-W.Va., (December 1997=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
 
Historical
data
Sep.
2015
Oct.
2015
Nov.
2015
Nov.
2014
Sep.
2015
Oct.
2015

All items (1)

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156.278   155.820 0.6 -0.3  
 

Food and beverages (1)

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156.616   156.585 0.9 0.0  

Food (1)

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158.094   158.003 1.0 -0.1  

Food at home

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149.751 150.129 149.177 0.2 -0.4 -0.6

Food away from home (2)

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165.969   166.493 1.9 0.3  

Alcoholic beverages (2)

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136.222   136.817 0.3 0.4  
 

Housing (1)

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168.462   168.682 1.8 0.1  

Shelter

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179.578 180.035 180.414 2.0 0.5 0.2

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

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199.795 200.030 200.272 2.1 0.2 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3) (4)

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179.778 180.519 180.888 2.1 0.6 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3) (4)

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179.770 180.498 180.871 2.1 0.6 0.2

Fuels and utilities

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189.141   184.698 1.5 -2.3  

Household energy

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179.365 178.335 173.177 -0.1 -3.4 -2.9

Gas (piped) and electricity (3)

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172.510 171.579 166.521 1.0 -3.5 -2.9

Electricity (3)

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186.930 185.924 180.016 3.7 -3.7 -3.2

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

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113.547 112.927 110.683 -8.7 -2.5 -2.0

Household furnishings and operations

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89.073   88.868 0.1 -0.2  
 

Apparel (1)

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98.415   95.710 -1.7 -2.7  
 

Transportation (1)

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139.696   137.672 -7.0 -1.4  

Private transportation

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137.180   134.954 -7.0 -1.6  

Motor fuel

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199.105 189.807 184.578 -24.8 -7.3 -2.8

Gasoline (all types)

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198.812 189.477 184.255 -24.8 -7.3 -2.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

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197.280 187.412 181.935 -25.9 -7.8 -2.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)

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210.807 202.416 197.854 -21.2 -6.1 -2.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

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215.348 207.822 203.634 -20.4 -5.4 -2.0
 

Medical care (1)

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181.231   181.222 5.6 0.0  
 

Recreation

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118.840   117.801 1.0 -0.9  
 

Education and communication

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153.637   153.414 3.3 -0.1  
 

Other goods and services (1)

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179.394   179.091 -0.4 -0.2  
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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126.701   125.107 -2.8 -1.3  

Commodities less food and beverages

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110.309   107.901 -5.5 -2.2  

Nondurables less food and beverages

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137.967   133.599 -7.8 -3.2  

Durables

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80.554   80.021 -1.9 -0.7  

Services

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176.156   176.500 2.4 0.2  
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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144.693   143.627 -0.3 -0.7  

All items less medical care (1)

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154.697   154.207 0.2 -0.3  

Commodities less food

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111.514   109.240 -5.2 -2.0  

Nondurables

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146.964   144.861 -3.1 -1.4  

Nondurables less food

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137.885   133.951 -7.1 -2.9  

Services less rent of shelter

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173.118   172.903 2.8 -0.1  

Services less medical care services

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175.650   175.962 2.0 0.2  

Energy (1)

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187.384 182.851 177.673 -12.7 -5.2 -2.8

All items less energy

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153.040   153.100 1.6 0.0  

All items less food and energy (1)

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153.199   153.284 1.7 0.1  

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a November 1996=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a November 1997=100 base.
(3) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(4) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences, and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(5) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, December 15, 2015