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14-634-PHI

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – March 2014

Area Prices Up 0.6 Percent Since January and 1.6 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area rose 0.6 percent from January to March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the two-month increase was due mostly to a 0.6-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index also increased, up 3.5 percent, while the food index declined 1.0 percent. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, two-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U increased 1.6 percent, due almost entirely to a 1.9-percent advance in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) The food index also increased, up 1.0 percent, while the energy index was unchanged. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Washington-Baltimore, March 2011 to March 2014 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

The food index decreased 1.0 percent over the last two months, following a 1.9-percent increase from November to January. Lower prices for fish and seafood, among other items, helped push the food at home index down 1.7 percent—the largest two-month decrease in nearly two years. The food away from home index edged down 0.2 percent since January.

Food prices rose 1.0 percent over the year. Prices for food away from home advanced 1.1 percent and those for food at home were up 0.9 percent since last March

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 3.5 percent since January. Utility (piped) gas service prices jumped 20.2 percent—the largest two-month increase since an identical rise in July 2008.  Gasoline prices also increased since January, up 3.0 percent. Lower electricity prices (-0.4 percent) moderated the advance in the energy index over the last two months.

Energy prices were unchanged over the year, as lower gasoline prices (-5.8 percent) were offset by higher utility (piped) gas service (22.3 percent) and electricity (3.9 percent) prices. The rise in utility (piped) gas service prices was the largest 12-month increase in more than five years.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent since January, led by higher shelter prices (0.4 percent) and a seasonal increase in apparel prices (4.1 percent).  Lower prices for education and communication (-0.4 percent) helped moderate the overall rise in the all items less food and energy index. 

Since March 2013, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.9 percent. The advance was due largely to an over-the-year increase in shelter prices (2.0 percent), as the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index was up 1.8 percent. Higher prices for medical care (3.0 percent), among other major groups, also contributed to the increase, while prices for household furnishings and operations declined 3.1 percent over the last 12 months.

The May 2014 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on June 17, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Table A. Washington-Baltimore CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

-0.7 1.0 0.3 2.6 1.0 2.3 0.4 2.7 0.1 1.8 0.4 1.9

March

0.7 0.4 0.4 2.3 1.2 3.0 1.3 2.8 0.9

1.4

0.6

1.6

May

0.5 -0.2 0.2 1.9 1.0 3.9 0.1 1.8 -0.2 1.2    

July

1.1 -0.9 0.0 0.8 0.1 4.1 -0.2 1.4 0.5 1.9    

September

0.1 -0.8 0.5 1.3 -0.1 3.4 1.3 2.8 0.6 1.2    

November

-0.2 1.6 0.1 1.6 -0.1 3.3 -0.7 2.1 -0.2 1.7    

 

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 Washington-Baltimore, D.C.-Md.-Va.-W.Va., Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) 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:  1-800-877-8339.

Table 1. 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)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from-
Jan. 2014 Feb. 2014 Mar. 2014 Mar. 2013 Jan. 2014 Feb. 2014

All items (1)

153.700 - 154.600 1.6 0.6 -

Food and beverages (1)

153.261 - 152.082 1.2 -0.8 -

Food (1)

154.891 - 153.313 1.0 -1.0 -

Food at home

148.687 147.150 146.204 0.9 -1.7 -0.6

Food away from home (2)

160.098 - 159.700 1.1 -0.2 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

131.423 - 134.376 3.6 2.2 -

Housing (1)

162.800 - 163.907 2.0 0.7 -

Shelter

172.521 172.437 173.166 2.0 0.4 0.4

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

191.692 191.699 191.892 1.7 0.1 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

172.440 172.346 172.564 1.8 0.1 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

172.435 172.340 172.559 1.8 0.1 0.1

Fuels and utilities

183.943 - 189.916 7.2 3.2 -

Household energy

178.135 179.530 185.217 8.0 4.0 3.2

Energy services (3)

168.665 169.753 175.636 8.1 4.1 3.5

Electricity (3)

177.079 175.979 176.437 3.9 -0.4 0.3

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

125.450 131.951 150.844 22.3 20.2 14.3

Household furnishings and operations

90.085 - 90.673 -3.1 0.7 -

Apparel (1)

93.392 - 97.216 3.2 4.1 -

Transportation (1)

153.834 - 156.289 0.3 1.6 -

Private transportation

152.580 - 154.173 -0.5 1.0 -

Motor fuel

287.871 283.906 296.658 -5.6 3.1 4.5

Gasoline (all types)

287.334 283.305 296.081 -5.8 3.0 4.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

290.561 286.378 299.681 -6.1 3.1 4.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

286.991 283.430 295.292 -4.7 2.9 4.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

290.026 286.067 297.766 -4.8 2.7 4.1

Medical care (1)

171.577 - 172.052 3.0 0.3 -

Recreation

116.624 - 117.098 1.9 0.4 -

Education and communication

144.544 - 143.924 0.6 -0.4 -

Other goods and services (1)

176.908 - 177.534 1.1 0.4 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

130.634 - 131.169 -0.4 0.4 -

Commodities less food and beverages

118.053 - 119.486 -1.4 1.2 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

151.014 - 153.649 -1.6 1.7 -

Durables

83.172 - 83.457 -1.0 0.3 -

Services

169.007 - 170.160 2.7 0.7 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care (1)

152.595 - 153.526 1.5 0.6 -

All items less shelter

144.234 - 145.251 1.4 0.7 -

Commodities less food

118.701 - 120.202 -1.2 1.3 -

Nondurables

151.464 - 152.113 -0.3 0.4 -

Nondurables less food

149.370 - 152.034 -1.3 1.8 -

Services less rent of shelter

165.895 - 167.650 3.6 1.1 -

Services less medical care services

168.804 - 170.000 2.6 0.7 -

Energy (1)

224.310 223.430 232.101 0.0 3.5 3.9

All items less energy

148.289 - 148.797 1.7 0.3 -

All items less food and energy (1)

148.171 - 149.016 1.9 0.6 -

Footnotes
(1) For Washington-Baltimore, indexes on a November 1996=100 base.
(2) For Washington-Baltimore, 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) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
- Data not available.
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

Last Modified Date: April 15, 2014