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19-85-PHI
Friday, January 11, 2019

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Consumer Price Index, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson – December 2018

Area prices down 0.8 percent since October; up 1.3 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson decreased 0.8 percent from October to December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the recent two-month decline was due almost entirely to a 10.9-percent decrease in the energy index. Both the all items less food and energy index and food index increased since October, up 0.1 and 0.5 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. The over-the-year rise was led by an increase in the all items less food and energy index (2.1 percent). The food index also rose over the year, up 0.9 percent, while prices for energy decreased since December 2017, down 6.5 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index increased 0.5 percent over the last two months. Prices rose for both food away from home and food at home, up 1.0 and 0.1 percent, respectively. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for various items including carbonated drinks and cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, while prices were lower for items including milk, among others.

Over the year, the food index increased 0.9 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 2.3 percent, while those for food at home edged down 0.3 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 10.9 percent due to a 20.0-percent drop in gasoline prices since October. Prices were also lower over the last two months for electricity, down 1.1 percent, while those for utility (piped) gas service increased 11.6 percent.

Over the year, the energy index declined 6.5 percent. Prices were lower for gasoline (-7.4 percent), electricity (-6.2 percent), and utility (piped) gas service (-6.8 percent) since December 2017.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.1 percent from October to December. Higher prices for education and communication (1.7 percent) and medical care (1.1 percent) were moderated by lower prices for apparel (-8.4 percent) and new vehicles (-1.2 percent), among others.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 2.1 percent since December 2017, led by higher prices for shelter, up 3.1 percent. Prices also rose over the year for medical care (7.2 percent), but were lower for new and used motor vehicles (-3.1 percent).

The Consumer Price Index for February 2019 is scheduled to be released Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 8:30 am (ET).


Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson 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 93 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 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 75 urban areas across the country from about 5,000 housing units and approximately 22,000 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 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD, Core Based Statistical Area includes Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Carroll, Harford, Howard, and Queen Anne’s Counties in Maryland.

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, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure categoryIndexesPercent change from
Historical
data
Oct.
2018
Nov.
2018
Dec.
2018
Dec.
2017
Oct.
2018
Nov.
2018

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0
255.140 253.2181.3-0.8 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF
260.387 261.5951.30.5 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF1
259.888 261.1400.90.5 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF11
234.500231.316234.660-0.30.11.4

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF111
293.294 288.530-0.8-1.6 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF112
229.024 218.699-3.2-4.5 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEFJ
232.163 225.7250.1-2.8 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF113
273.648 292.083-2.86.7 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF114
178.388 178.4121.70.0 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF115
212.188 215.3393.61.5 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEFV
297.066 299.9232.31.0 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF116
264.592 265.2457.20.2 

Housing(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH
260.849 260.5611.9-0.1 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH1
308.917307.305308.4103.1-0.20.4

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHA
360.446360.724362.0404.80.40.4

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHC
319.514319.938320.5972.70.30.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHC01
319.514319.938320.5972.70.30.2

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH2
229.903 229.197-5.0-0.3 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH21
202.150202.531201.447-5.9-0.3-0.5

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF
215.848216.058215.838-6.20.0-0.1

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF01
205.663204.685203.414-6.2-1.1-0.6

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF02
164.981175.234184.163-6.811.65.1

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH3
117.447 118.217-1.10.7 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAA
144.379 132.228-2.5-8.4 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAT
204.134 195.006-1.6-4.5 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAT1
203.446 193.379-2.4-4.9 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA
97.289 96.643-3.1-0.7 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA01
198.381 195.977-2.6-1.2 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA02
234.678 237.2701.31.1 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETB
245.959219.043197.529-7.2-19.7-9.8

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETB01
240.712213.928192.679-7.4-20.0-9.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47014
243.571215.526193.946-7.4-20.4-10.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47015
255.875230.866210.247-8.6-17.8-8.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47016
246.990227.144205.677-7.1-16.7-9.5

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETE
810.309 835.7972.33.1 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAM
426.536 431.2757.21.1 

Recreation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAR
122.662 124.2712.01.3 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAE
144.004 146.4490.21.7 

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEEB
1,177.231 1,191.7003.81.2 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAG
417.915 419.084-0.50.3 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAC
186.023 180.013-1.5-3.2 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESACL11
150.914 143.198-2.9-5.1 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESANL11
203.289 184.762-3.4-9.1 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAD
100.849 100.166-2.3-0.7 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAS
322.903 324.5992.80.5 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L2
234.825 232.2440.3-1.1 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L5
246.663 244.3890.8-0.9 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESACL1
154.449 146.858-2.5-4.9 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAN
230.216 220.086-1.0-4.4 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESANL1
206.764 189.234-2.7-8.5 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESASL2RS
349.637 354.5272.51.4 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESASL5
312.673 314.1702.20.5 

Energy(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0E
228.487215.052203.600-6.5-10.9-5.3

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0LE
258.585 258.8722.00.1 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L1E
258.287 258.4492.10.1 

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a March 1978=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a November 1982=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, January 11, 2019