Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

News Release Information

16-374-PHI
Friday, February 19, 2016

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:

Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – January 2016

Area prices down 0.2 percent since November; up 1.4 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Baltimore edged down 0.2 percent over the last two months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted the decline was led by a 4.6-percent decrease in the energy index. The food index declined 0.4 percent, while the all items less food and energy index edged up 0.2 percent since November. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U increased 1.4 percent, due largely to a 2.3-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since January 2015, the food index rose 0.2 percent, while the energy index fell 7.2 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

After inching down 0.1 percent from September to November, the food index declined 0.4 percent over the last two months. Lower prices for eggs, citrus fruits, and ice cream and related products contributed to the 0.8-percent decrease in the food at home index. The food away from home index rose 0.2 percent since November.

Food prices rose 0.2 percent over the year, as prices for food away from home advanced 1.6 percent. Prices for food at home declined 1.0 percent since last January.

Energy

Since November, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 4.6 percent, mostly due to a 9.6-percent decrease in gasoline prices. Utility (piped) gas service prices were also lower over the last two months, down 6.2 percent, while electricity prices were higher, up 0.8 percent.

Energy prices fell 7.2 percent over the year, led by a 13.6-percent drop in gasoline prices. Utility (piped) gas service prices also declined, dropping 18.3 percent—the index’s largest over-the-year decrease since December 2009. Electricity prices rose 3.3 percent over the last 12 months.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.2 percent since November. The increase was due largely to an increase in prices for medical care (0.7 percent) and education and communication (0.5 percent). Lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-0.7 percent) nearly offset the overall rise in the all items less food and energy index.

Since January 2015, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent. The increase was due largely to an over-the-year rise in prices for shelter (2.0 percent), as well as those for medical care (6.2 percent) and education and communication (4.5 percent). Lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-0.9 percent), among others, moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index since last January.

Table A. Washington, D.C. CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month20122013201420152016
2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month

January

0.42.70.11.80.41.9-1.0-0.2-0.21.4

March

1.32.80.91.40.61.61.00.2  

May

0.11.8-0.21.20.42.20.60.4  

July

-0.21.40.51.90.01.7-0.20.2  

September

1.32.80.61.20.21.30.50.5  

November

-0.72.1-0.21.7-0.41.2-0.30.6  

The Consumer Price Index for March 2016 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, April 14, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).


Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is published bi-monthly. 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 89 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 28 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/pdf/homch17.pdf.

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 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: (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) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure categoryIndexesPercent change from
 
Historical
data
Nov.
2015
Dec.
2015
Jan.
2016
Jan.
2015
Nov.
2015
Dec.
2015

All items (1)

Jump to page with historical data
155.820 155.5191.4-0.2 
 

Food and beverages (1)

Jump to page with historical data
156.585 156.0800.3-0.3 

Food (1)

Jump to page with historical data
158.003 157.4320.2-0.4 

Food at home

Jump to page with historical data
149.177148.479147.966-1.0-0.8-0.3

Food away from home (2)

Jump to page with historical data
166.493 166.7711.60.2 

Alcoholic beverages (2)

Jump to page with historical data
136.817 137.1121.00.2 
 

Housing (1)

Jump to page with historical data
168.682 168.5871.5-0.1 

Shelter

Jump to page with historical data
180.414180.367180.5452.00.10.1

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

Jump to page with historical data
200.272200.191200.1732.00.00.0

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3) (4)

Jump to page with historical data
180.888180.960180.8082.00.0-0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3) (4)

Jump to page with historical data
180.871180.950180.7992.00.0-0.1

Fuels and utilities

Jump to page with historical data
184.698 183.726-0.1-0.5 

Household energy

Jump to page with historical data
173.177172.870172.076-2.0-0.6-0.5

Gas (piped) and electricity (3)

Jump to page with historical data
166.521166.372165.696-1.5-0.5-0.4

Electricity (3)

Jump to page with historical data
180.016181.354181.5153.30.80.1

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

Jump to page with historical data
110.683106.778103.862-18.3-6.2-2.7

Household furnishings and operations

Jump to page with historical data
88.868 88.203-0.9-0.7 
 

Apparel (1)

Jump to page with historical data
95.710 95.8316.40.1 
 

Transportation (1)

Jump to page with historical data
137.672 135.458-2.2-1.6 

Private transportation

Jump to page with historical data
134.954 132.919-2.3-1.5 

Motor fuel

Jump to page with historical data
184.578176.127166.830-13.7-9.6-5.3

Gasoline (all types)

Jump to page with historical data
184.255175.770166.603-13.6-9.6-5.2

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

Jump to page with historical data
181.935172.874163.625-14.8-10.1-5.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)

Jump to page with historical data
197.854191.398181.428-9.8-8.3-5.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

Jump to page with historical data
203.634196.709188.259-9.0-7.6-4.3
 

Medical care (1)

Jump to page with historical data
181.222 182.5066.20.7 
 

Recreation

Jump to page with historical data
117.801 118.290-0.40.4 
 

Education and communication

Jump to page with historical data
153.414 154.1634.50.5 
 

Other goods and services (1)

Jump to page with historical data
179.091 178.8370.6-0.1 
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

Jump to page with historical data
125.107 124.144-0.6-0.8 

Commodities less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
107.901 106.728-1.2-1.1 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
133.599 131.027-1.4-1.9 

Durables

Jump to page with historical data
80.021 79.989-1.00.0 

Services

Jump to page with historical data
176.500 176.6692.40.1 
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

Jump to page with historical data
143.627 143.1321.0-0.3 

All items less medical care (1)

Jump to page with historical data
154.207 153.7971.0-0.3 

Commodities less food

Jump to page with historical data
109.240 108.118-1.1-1.0 

Nondurables

Jump to page with historical data
144.861 143.376-0.5-1.0 

Nondurables less food

Jump to page with historical data
133.951 131.603-1.2-1.8 

Services less rent of shelter

Jump to page with historical data
172.903 173.1242.90.1 

Services less medical care services

Jump to page with historical data
175.962 176.0531.90.1 

Energy (1)

Jump to page with historical data
177.673173.914169.582-7.2-4.6-2.5

All items less energy

Jump to page with historical data
153.100 153.2282.00.1 

All items less food and energy (1)

Jump to page with historical data
153.284 153.5202.30.2 

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a November 1996=100 base.
(2) 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 underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences, and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(5) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, February 19, 2016