News Release Information
Friday, April 14, 2017
Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – March 2017
Area prices up 0.3 percent since January and 1.3 percent over the year
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Baltimore edged up 0.3 percent over the last two months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted the increase was due to a 0.5-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. The food index and the energy index both declined over the last two months, down 0.6 and 0.2 percent, respectively. (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 1.3 percent, due to monthly increases in the all items less food and energy index and the energy index, up 0.8 and 10.9 percent, respectively. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since March 2016, the food index inched up 0.1 percent. (See table 1.)
After increasing 0.1 percent from November to January, the food index decreased 0.6 percent over the last two months. Prices for food away from home declined 0.7 percent, and those for food at home decreased 0.5 percent.
Food prices inched up 0.1 percent over the year. Higher prices for food away from home, up 1.7 percent, were nearly offset by lower prices for food at home, down 1.2 percent, since last March.
Since January, the energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, edged down 0.2 percent, due to lower prices for gasoline (2.6 percent). Prices for utility (piped) gas service rose over the last two months, up 7.4 percent. Electricity prices also increased since January, up 0.4 percent.
Energy prices rose 10.9 percent over the year. The increase was led by a 22.0-percent jump in gasoline prices. Prices also increased over the year for utility (piped) gas service (13.3 percent) and electricity (0.7 percent).
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.5 percent since January. Higher prices for a number of items, including shelter (0.7 percent), were moderated by declines in prices for recreation (-1.9 percent) and education and communication (-0.9 percent).
Since March 2016, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.8 percent. The increase was due largely to an over-the-year rise in shelter prices (1.1 percent). Higher prices for medical care (2.2 percent), among others, also contributed to the rise. Prices declined over the year for recreation (-5.9 percent) and used cars and trucks.
The Consumer Price Index for May 2017 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 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|
Food and beverages(1)
Food at home
Food away from home(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)
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, April 14, 2017