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14-300-PHI

Thursday, February 20, 2014

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – January 2014

Area Prices Up 0.4 Percent Since November and 1.9 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area rose 0.4 percent from November to January, 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 1.9-percent increase in the food index. The energy index also increased, up 1.7 percent, while the all items less food and energy index was unchanged. (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 1.9 percent, due mostly to a 1.7-percent advance in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) The food index and the energy index also rose over the year, up 2.6 and 2.8 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

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

Food

The food index increased 1.9 percent over the last two months—the largest bimonthly increase since the inception of the index in November 1996—as prices increased for both the food at home and food away from home components. Higher prices for fish and seafood, among other items, helped push the food at home index up 2.9 percent—the largest two-month increase in three years. The food away from home index increased 0.7 percent since November.

Food prices rose 2.6 percent over the year. Prices for food at home advanced 3.1 percent and those for food away from home, 2.0 percent since last January.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 1.7 percent since November, due mostly to a 3.2-percent increase in gasoline prices. Utility (piped) gas service prices also increased since November, up 0.9 percent. Lower electricity prices (-0.8 percent) moderated the advance in the energy index over the last two months.

Energy prices were up 2.8 percent over the year, due almost entirely to an 8.5-percent increase in electricity prices. The utility (piped) gas service index also increased over the year, up 2.2 percent, while gasoline prices edged down 0.3 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged since November. Higher prices in a number of categories including shelter (0.6 percent)—particularly lodging away from home—and education and communication (0.4 percent) were offset by lower prices in other categories, including a seasonal decrease in apparel prices (-5.1 percent).  

Since January 2013, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent. The advance was due largely to an over-the-year increase in shelter prices (1.6 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (1.7 percent). Higher prices for medical care (3.2 percent), among others, were moderated by lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-3.2 percent).

The March 2014 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on April 15, 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

 

 

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-
Nov. 2013 Dec. 2013 Jan. 2014 Jan. 2013 Nov. 2013 Dec. 2013

All items (1)

153.160 - 153.700 1.9 0.4 -

Food and beverages (1)

150.570 - 153.261 2.6 1.8 -

Food (1)

152.004 - 154.891 2.6 1.9 -

Food at home

144.496 146.452 148.687 3.1 2.9 1.5

Food away from home (2)

159.064 - 160.098 2.0 0.7 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

130.947 - 131.423 3.8 0.4 -

Housing (1)

162.072 - 162.800 1.7 0.4 -

Shelter

171.568 172.013 172.521 1.6 0.6 0.3

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

190.903 191.312 191.692 1.7 0.4 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

172.306 172.636 172.440 1.7 0.1 -0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

172.296 172.625 172.435 1.7 0.1 -0.1

Fuels and utilities

184.412 - 183.943 6.6 -0.3 -

Household energy

178.477 178.005 178.135 7.0 -0.2 0.1

Energy services (3)

169.335 168.714 168.665 7.1 -0.4 0.0

Electricity (3)

178.429 177.883 177.079 8.5 -0.8 -0.5

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

124.316 123.575 125.450 2.2 0.9 1.5

Household furnishings and operations

89.850 - 90.085 -3.2 0.3 -

Apparel (1)

98.387 - 93.392 0.5 -5.1 -

Transportation (1)

153.276 - 153.834 2.1 0.4 -

Private transportation

150.736 - 152.580 1.8 1.2 -

Motor fuel

279.094 287.705 287.871 -0.3 3.1 0.1

Gasoline (all types)

278.492 287.202 287.334 -0.3 3.2 0.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

281.591 290.547 290.561 -0.7 3.2 0.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

278.462 287.067 286.991 0.7 3.1 0.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

280.937 289.024 290.026 0.9 3.2 0.3

Medical care (1)

171.819 - 171.577 3.2 -0.1 -

Recreation

116.934 - 116.624 1.6 -0.3 -

Education and communication

144.003 - 144.544 1.0 0.4 -

Other goods and services (1)

176.124 - 176.908 1.6 0.4 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

129.800 - 130.634 1.2 0.6 -

Commodities less food and beverages

118.197 - 118.053 0.2 -0.1 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

151.345 - 151.014 0.5 -0.2 -

Durables

83.165 - 83.172 -0.2 0.0 -

Services

168.679 - 169.007 2.3 0.2 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care (1)

152.006 - 152.595 1.8 0.4 -

All items less shelter

143.892 - 144.234 2.0 0.2 -

Commodities less food

118.812 - 118.701 0.4 -0.1 -

Nondurables

150.222 - 151.464 1.6 0.8 -

Nondurables less food

149.611 - 149.370 0.7 -0.2 -

Services less rent of shelter

166.312 - 165.895 3.1 -0.3 -

Services less medical care services

168.443 - 168.804 2.2 0.2 -

Energy (1)

220.657 224.165 224.310 2.8 1.7 0.1

All items less energy

147.936 - 148.289 1.8 0.2 -

All items less food and energy (1)

148.218 - 148.171 1.7 0.0 -

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 21, 2014