Friday, February 19, 2016
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.)
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.
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.
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.
The Consumer Price Index for March 2016 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, April 14, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).
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.
|Expenditure category||Indexes||Percent change from|
All items (1)
Food and beverages (1)
Food at home
Food away from home (2)
Alcoholic beverages (2)
Fuels and utilities
Gas (piped) and electricity (3)
Utility (piped) gas service (3)
Household furnishings and operations
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)
Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)
Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)
Medical care (1)
Education and communication
Other goods and services (1)
Commodity and service group
Commodities less food and beverages
Nondurables less food and beverages
Special aggregate indexes
All items less shelter
All items less medical care (1)
Commodities less food
Nondurables less food
Services less rent of shelter
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy (1)
Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.
Last Modified Date: Friday, February 19, 2016