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Thursday, February 21, 2013

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – January 2013

Area Prices Inch up 0.1 Percent Since November and Rise 1.8 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area inched up 0.1 percent from November to January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that a 0.3-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index was nearly offset by decreases in the energy (-0.6 percent) and food (-0.2 percent) indexes. (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 1.8 percent, due primarily to a 2.2-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 over the year, while the energy index declined, down 0.8 percent. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Washington-Baltimore, January 2010 to January 2013 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

The food index edged down 0.2 percent over the last two months as a 0.6-percent decline in prices for food at home was partially offset by a 0.4-percent rise in those for food away from home. Within the food at home component, lower prices for bread and eggs, among other items, were countered by higher prices for various items including carbonated drinks and breakfast cereal.

Since last January, the food index rose 1.0 percent, due to higher prices for food away from home, up 3.3 percent. The food at home index was lower over the year, down 0.7 percent—the first 12-month decrease since November 2010.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 0.6 percent since November, due mostly to a 0.9-percent decrease in gasoline prices. Also contributing to the decline in energy prices were lower prices for utility (piped) gas service and electricity, down 1.0 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Energy prices declined 0.8 percent over the year due to price decreases for both the utility (piped) gas service component (-8.7 percent) and the electricity component (-2.7 percent). These two components have posted continuous 12-month decreases stretching back to May and July 2012, respectively. Moderating the over-the-year decline in the energy index were higher prices for gasoline, up 2.0 percent since January 2012.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.3 percent since November. Higher prices for shelter (0.7 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence (0.4 percent), led the advance. Higher prices for medical care (1.4 percent) and education and communication (1.1 percent) also contributed to the recent increase.  A larger-than-usual seasonal decline in apparel prices, down 6.6 percent, helped to moderate the increase in the all items less food and energy index.

Since last January, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2 percent. The advance was due largely to higher shelter prices, particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence, up 3.3 and 3.1 percent, respectively, over the year.

The March 2013 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on April 16, 2013, 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 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
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

0.8 4.9 -0.7 1.0 0.3 2.6 1.0 2.3 0.4 2.7 0.1 1.8

March

1.3 4.7 0.7 0.4 0.4 2.3 1.2 3.0 1.3 2.8    

May

1.1 5.0 0.5 -0.2 0.2 1.9 1.0 3.9 0.1 1.8    

July

1.7 5.7 1.1 -0.9 0.0 0.8 0.1 4.1 -0.2 1.4    

September

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

November

-2.5 2.5 -0.2 1.6 0.1 1.6 -0.1 3.3 -0.7 2.1    

 

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-
Nov. 2012 Dec. 2012 Jan. 2013 Jan. 2012 Nov. 2012 Dec. 2012

All items (1)

150.646 - 150.845 1.8 0.1 -

Food and beverages (1)

149.468 - 149.324 1.0 -0.1 -

Food (1)

151.278 - 151.019 1.0 -0.2 -

Food at home

145.149 145.379 144.263 -0.7 -0.6 -0.8

Food away from home (2)

156.367 - 157.019 3.3 0.4 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

125.443 - 126.654 1.3 1.0 -

Housing (1)

159.445 - 160.134 2.3 0.4 -

Shelter

168.598 168.837 169.765 3.3 0.7 0.5

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

187.978 188.040 188.537 4.2 0.3 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

168.875 168.836 169.618 3.1 0.4 0.5

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

168.864 168.826 169.609 3.1 0.4 0.5

Fuels and utilities

173.413 - 172.631 -2.5 -0.5 -

Household energy

167.053 167.080 166.434 -4.2 -0.4 -0.4

Energy services (3)

158.077 158.278 157.494 -4.1 -0.4 -0.5

Electricity (3)

163.597 163.975 163.269 -2.7 -0.2 -0.4

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

123.897 123.605 122.715 -8.7 -1.0 -0.7

Household furnishings and operations

93.953 - 93.032 -0.9 -1.0 -

Apparel (1)

99.505 - 92.915 -2.5 -6.6 -

Transportation (1)

150.402 - 150.743 1.6 0.2 -

Private transportation

149.930 - 149.851 1.1 -0.1 -

Motor fuel

291.111 281.312 288.630 1.9 -0.9 2.6

Gasoline (all types)

290.652 280.617 288.141 2.0 -0.9 2.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

295.121 285.013 292.552 1.6 -0.9 2.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

287.746 277.563 284.879 2.4 -1.0 2.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

289.359 279.216 287.359 3.4 -0.7 2.9

Medical care (1)

163.847 - 166.217 5.1 1.4 -

Recreation

114.605 - 114.815 0.2 0.2 -

Education and communication

141.491 - 143.095 1.7 1.1 -

Other goods and services (1)

174.636 - 174.084 0.9 -0.3 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

130.127 - 129.099 0.1 -0.8 -

Commodities less food and beverages

119.232 - 117.774 -0.5 -1.2 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

153.240 - 150.321 0.4 -1.9 -

Durables

83.356 - 83.319 -1.9 0.0 -

Services

164.179 - 165.241 2.8 0.6 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care (1)

149.830 - 149.894 1.6 0.0 -

All items less shelter

141.602 - 141.343 1.0 -0.2 -

Commodities less food

119.602 - 118.242 -0.4 -1.1 -

Nondurables

150.609 - 149.092 0.7 -1.0 -

Nondurables less food

150.962 - 148.349 0.4 -1.7 -

Services less rent of shelter

159.987 - 160.920 2.2 0.6 -

Services less medical care services

164.220 - 165.243 2.6 0.6 -

Energy (1)

219.608 215.336 218.181 -0.8 -0.6 1.3

All items less energy

145.357 - 145.649 2.0 0.2 -

All items less food and energy (1)

145.333 - 145.714 2.2 0.3 -

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: February 25, 2013