For release: Thursday, August 18, 2011 PLS-4806

Technical information: (215) 597-3282 • BLSInfoPhiladelphia@bls.govwww.bls.gov/ro3
Media contact: (215) 861-5600 • BLSMediaPhiladelphia@bls.gov

 

Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – July 2011 (PDF)

Area Prices 0.1 Percent Higher Since May; 4.1 Percent Higher Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area inched up 0.1 percent from May to July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that an advance in the all items less food and energy index (0.6 percent) was nearly offset by decreases in the energy index (-3.6 percent) and food index (-0.1 percent) since May. Within the all items less food and energy index, higher prices for shelter led the two-month increase. (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 rose 4.1 percent—the largest over-the-year increase since September 2008. (See chart 1 and table A.) Over the last year, prices increased for all items less food and energy (2.8 percent), energy (15.1 percent), and food (5.1 percent). (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Washington-Baltimore, July 2008 to July 2011 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

The food index inched down 0.1 percent from May to July, as did both of its components, food away from home and food at home. Within the food at home group, lower prices for various items led by chicken and breakfast cereal were nearly offset by higher prices for a number of items including processed fish and seafood and frozen fruits and vegetables.

Over the year, the food index rose 5.1 percent—the largest 12-month advance since November 2008. The recent increase reflected higher prices for both food at home (5.3 percent) and food away from home (4.9 percent).

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, fell 3.6 percent since May due to an 8.4-percent drop in gasoline prices. Moderating the two-month decrease in the energy index was a 4.2-percent seasonal advance in electricity prices, which typically rise in June as summer rate schedules are introduced, then decline in October. Prices for utility (piped) gas service were also higher over the last two months, up 3.6 percent.

Energy prices advanced 15.1 percent since July 2010 due almost entirely to a 35.5-percent jump in gasoline prices. Lower prices for electricity (-5.1 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (-15.3 percent) moderated the 12-month increase in the energy index.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent from May to July, due largely to a 0.8-percent increase in shelter prices. Also contributing to the two-month advance in the all items less food and energy index was a 1.7-percent rise in the education and communication index. Partially offsetting these and other advances was a seasonal decrease in apparel prices, which fell 2.7 percent since May.

Over the last 12 months, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.8 percent. The advance was led by higher shelter prices, up 2.8 percent since July 2010. Price decreases for household furnishings and operations (-3.5 percent) and recreation (-1.8 percent) moderated the over-the-year increase in the all items less food and energy index.

The September 2011 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on October 19, 2011, 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 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
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 4.1 0.5 2.9 0.8 4.9 -0.7 1.0 0.3 2.6 1.0 2.3

March

0.4 3.3 1.5 4.1 1.3 4.7 0.7 0.4 0.4 2.3 1.2 3.0

May

1.6 4.2 0.8 3.2 1.1 5.0 0.5 -0.2 0.2 1.9 1.0 3.9

July

1.5 4.6 1.1 2.9 1.7 5.7 1.1 -0.9 0.0 0.8 0.1 4.1

September

-0.4 2.8 0.2 3.4 0.0 5.5 0.1 -0.8 0.5 1.3    

November

-0.7 3.1 0.4 4.5 -2.5 2.5 -0.2 1.6 0.1 1.6    

 

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 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, Fairfax, Fauquier, King George, Loudoun, Prince William, Rappahannock, 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; 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 Mid-Atlantic Information Office at (215) 597-3282 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.

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-
May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 July 2010 May 2011 June 2011

All items (1)

147.554 - 147.747 4.1 0.1 -

Food and beverages (1)

145.465 - 145.456 4.8 0.0 -

Food (1)

147.057 - 146.921 5.1 -0.1 -

Food at home

142.561 141.926 142.465 5.3 -0.1 0.4

Food away from home (2)

149.807 - 149.624 4.9 -0.1 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

123.725 - 124.975 1.5 1.0 -

Housing (1)

154.137 - 155.689 1.6 1.0 -

Shelter

160.988 161.317 162.251 2.8 0.8 0.6

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

176.201 176.449 177.317 2.7 0.6 0.5

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

161.261 161.632 162.395 2.6 0.7 0.5

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

161.267 161.637 162.399 2.6 0.7 0.5

Fuels and utilities

180.265 - 187.312 -3.1 3.9 -

Household energy

179.431 183.570 186.566 -5.1 4.0 1.6

Energy services (3) (4)

170.424 174.280 177.386 -7.1 4.1 1.8

Electricity (3)

177.149 181.408 184.564 -5.1 4.2 1.7

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

129.162 131.245 133.841 -15.3 3.6 2.0

Household furnishings and operations

93.973 - 93.891 -3.5 -0.1 -

Apparel (1)

100.517 - 97.844 12.2 -2.7 -

Transportation (1)

154.544 - 151.844 12.8 -1.7 -

Private transportation

155.266 - 151.683 13.4 -2.3 -

Motor fuel

329.990 310.654 302.614 35.4 -8.3 -2.6

Gasoline (all types)

330.609 311.098 302.810 35.5 -8.4 -2.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

337.702 317.252 308.817 36.1 -8.6 -2.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)

324.485 306.187 297.956 34.9 -8.2 -2.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

321.477 304.198 295.948 33.2 -7.9 -2.7

Medical care (1)

154.680 - 155.162 3.9 0.3 -

Recreation

115.698 - 114.368 -1.8 -1.1 -

Education and communication

135.958 - 138.237 1.6 1.7 -

Other goods and services (1)

169.073 - 169.649 1.8 0.3 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

131.838 - 130.062 7.4 -1.3 -

Commodities less food and beverages

123.917 - 121.221 9.1 -2.2 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

160.218 - 154.077 14.9 -3.8 -

Durables

85.678 - 86.353 0.6 0.8 -

Services

157.686 - 159.287 2.2 1.0 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care (1)

147.104 - 147.280 4.1 0.1 -

All items less shelter

140.709 - 140.374 4.8 -0.2 -

Commodities less food

124.005 - 121.490 8.7 -2.0 -

Nondurables

151.916 - 148.947 9.6 -2.0 -

Nondurables less food

157.162 - 151.674 13.8 -3.5 -

Services less rent of shelter

154.822 - 156.854 1.5 1.3 -

Services less medical care services

158.002 - 159.701 2.1 1.1 -

Energy (1)

244.354 237.698 235.597 15.1 -3.6 -0.9

All items less energy

140.686 - 141.394 3.1 0.5 -

All items less food and energy (1)

140.563 - 141.411 2.8 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) This index series was formerly titled Gas (piped) and electricity.
(5) 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: August 19, 2011