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13-1221-PHI

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – May 2013

Area Prices Down 0.2 Percent Since March; Up 1.2 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area edged down 0.2 percent from March to May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the two-month decline reflected a 2.9-percent decrease in the energy index. The all items less food and energy index and the food index each inched up 0.1 percent since March. (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 1.2 percent, due primarily to a 1.5-percent advance in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) The food index also increased, up 1.5 percent over the year, while the energy index declined, down 2.2 percent. (See table 1.)

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

Food

The food index inched up 0.1 percent from March to May as higher prices for food at home (0.4 percent) were nearly offset by lower prices for food away from home (-0.4 percent). The two-month decline in food away from home prices was the largest since July 2010.

Food prices rose 1.5 percent from their year-ago levels. The food away from home index advanced 2.8 percent and the food at home index, 0.5 percent since last May.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, fell 2.9 percent over the last two months, due largely to a 4.9-percent decrease in gasoline prices. Prices for electricity were also lower since March, down 2.7 percent. Moderating the two-month decline in the energy index was a 9.9-percent jump in prices for utility (piped) gas service—the largest increase in nearly three years.

Energy prices declined 2.2 percent over the year due to decreases of 4.0 percent in prices for gasoline and 2.3 percent in those for electricity. Moderating the decline in the energy index was an over-the-year advance in utility (piped) gas service prices, up 12.2 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.1 percent since March, led by higher prices for recreation (1.4 percent), particularly club dues and fees for participant sports, and apparel (1.1 percent). Nearly offsetting the price increases in the all items less food and energy group were lower prices for education and communication and medical care (-0.8 percent each), as well as household furnishings and operations (-1.1 percent).

Since May 2012, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.5 percent. The advance was due largely to an over-the-year increase in shelter prices, particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence (2.1 percent each). Moderating the 12-month rise in the all items less food and energy group was a 5.2-percent drop in apparel prices.

The July 2013 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on August 15, 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 0.9

1.4

May

1.1 5.0 0.5 -0.2 0.2 1.9 1.0 3.9 0.1 1.8 -0.2 1.2

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-
Mar. 2013 Apr. 2013 May 2013 May 2012 Mar. 2013 Apr. 2013

All items (1)

152.188 - 151.908 1.2 -0.2 -

Food and beverages (1)

150.316 - 150.491 1.7 0.1 -

Food (1)

151.836 - 151.968 1.5 0.1 -

Food at home

144.932 145.877 145.550 0.5 0.4 -0.2

Food away from home (2)

158.028 - 157.457 2.8 -0.4 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

129.693 - 130.369 4.4 0.5 -

Housing (1)

160.664 - 160.555 1.8 -0.1 -

Shelter

169.826 169.870 169.862 2.1 0.0 0.0

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

188.750 188.620 188.140 2.5 -0.3 -0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

169.505 169.621 169.692 2.1 0.1 0.0

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

169.496 169.612 169.683 2.1 0.1 0.0

Fuels and utilities

177.108 - 177.289 1.6 0.1 -

Household energy

171.519 173.952 171.330 0.4 -0.1 -1.5

Energy services (3)

162.540 165.272 162.627 0.8 0.1 -1.6

Electricity (3)

169.741 169.044 165.219 -2.3 -2.7 -2.3

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

123.366 134.819 135.622 12.2 9.9 0.6

Household furnishings and operations

93.612 - 92.616 -1.2 -1.1 -

Apparel (1)

94.174 - 95.197 -5.2 1.1 -

Transportation (1)

155.885 - 154.002 0.2 -1.2 -

Private transportation

154.882 - 152.598 -0.5 -1.5 -

Motor fuel

314.177 303.609 298.826 -4.0 -4.9 -1.6

Gasoline (all types)

314.154 303.647 298.889 -4.0 -4.9 -1.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

319.196 308.351 302.943 -4.5 -5.1 -1.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

309.879 300.116 296.541 -3.1 -4.3 -1.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

312.826 302.594 299.865 -1.5 -4.1 -0.9

Medical care (1)

167.019 - 165.615 2.9 -0.8 -

Recreation

114.908 - 116.553 1.1 1.4 -

Education and communication

143.060 - 141.931 0.6 -0.8 -

Other goods and services (1)

175.642 - 176.349 1.5 0.4 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

131.741 - 130.892 -0.6 -0.6 -

Commodities less food and beverages

121.211 - 119.861 -2.0 -1.1 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

156.215 - 153.775 -2.6 -1.6 -

Durables

84.335 - 84.054 -1.0 -0.3 -

Services

165.662 - 165.782 2.2 0.1 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care (1)

151.271 - 151.060 1.1 -0.1 -

All items less shelter

143.287 - 142.858 0.6 -0.3 -

Commodities less food

121.668 - 120.393 -1.8 -1.0 -

Nondurables

152.506 - 151.385 -0.5 -0.7 -

Nondurables less food

154.025 - 151.816 -2.1 -1.4 -

Services less rent of shelter

161.774 - 161.996 2.3 0.1 -

Services less medical care services

165.644 - 165.826 2.1 0.1 -

Energy (1)

232.167 228.886 225.345 -2.2 -2.9 -1.5

All items less energy

146.241 - 146.346 1.5 0.1 -

All items less food and energy (1)

146.274 - 146.375 1.5 0.1 -

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: June 18, 2013