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17-452-PHI
Friday, April 14, 2017

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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.)

 

Food

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.

Energy

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.

Table A. Washington, D.C. CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month20132014201520162017
2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month

January

0.11.80.41.9-1.0-0.2-0.21.40.21.7

March

0.91.40.61.61.00.20.61.00.31.3

May

-0.21.20.42.20.60.40.81.2  

July

0.51.90.01.7-0.20.2-0.11.4  

September

0.61.20.21.30.50.5-0.10.8  

November

-0.21.7-0.41.2-0.30.60.11.2  

The Consumer Price Index for May 2017 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 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
Jan.
2017
Feb.
2017
Mar.
2017
Mar.
2016
Jan.
2017
Feb.
2017

All items(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SA0
158.086 158.5581.30.3 
 

Food and beverages(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAF
157.668 156.8420.2-0.5 

Food(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAF1
159.046 158.1540.1-0.6 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAF11
147.034145.600146.365-1.2-0.50.5

Food away from home(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SEFV
171.768 170.5971.7-0.7 

Alcoholic beverages(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAF116
138.342 138.4261.80.1 
 

Housing(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAH
170.882 172.1361.30.7 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAH1
182.886184.529184.2261.10.7-0.2

Rent of primary residence(1)(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SEHA
204.086205.006205.2332.10.60.1

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SEHC
183.427184.217184.1141.40.4-0.1

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SEHC01
183.412184.206184.1061.40.4-0.1

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAH2
191.883 194.4043.71.3 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAH21
179.885183.065182.8513.51.6-0.1

Gas (piped) and electricity(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SEHF
172.482175.664175.4813.01.7-0.1

Electricity(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SEHF01
184.502186.613185.2430.70.4-0.7

Utility (piped) gas service(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SEHF02
120.405126.200129.31913.37.42.5

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAH3
86.954 87.015-0.20.1 
 

Apparel(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAA
101.113 101.5281.50.4 
 

Transportation(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAT
141.729 143.1995.41.0 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAT1
140.399 141.4745.90.8 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SETB
205.968199.913200.72522.0-2.50.4

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SETB01
205.786199.695200.51122.0-2.60.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SS47014
203.950197.599198.43322.9-2.70.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SS47015
217.392212.710213.29619.0-1.90.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SS47016
224.467220.448221.21519.4-1.40.3
 

Medical care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAM
187.735 187.9342.20.1 
 

Recreation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAR
115.517 113.371-5.9-1.9 
 

Education and communication

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAE
152.832 151.435-1.1-0.9 
 

Other goods and services(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAG
177.455 178.3630.40.5 
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAC
126.497 126.2271.2-0.2 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SACL11
109.358 109.3421.80.0 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SANL11
139.495 138.4154.8-0.8 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAD
78.842 79.461-1.10.8 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAS
179.371 180.3651.40.6 
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SA0L2
145.776 145.8621.40.1 

All items less medical care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SA0L5
156.180 156.6721.20.3 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SACL1
110.719 110.7061.80.0 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SAN
148.210 147.2692.2-0.6 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SANL1
139.576 138.5764.6-0.7 

Services less rent of shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SASL2RS
176.134 176.7521.60.4 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SASL5
178.452 179.5381.30.6 

Energy(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SA0E
190.418189.748189.96110.9-0.20.1

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SA0LE
154.787 155.3040.70.3 

All items less food and energy(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURA311SA0L1E
155.080 155.8060.80.5 

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, April 14, 2017