News Release Information
Friday, January 11, 2019
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.)
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.
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).
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.
|Expenditure category||Indexes||Percent change from|
Food and beverages
Food at home
Cereals and bakery products
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Dairy and related products
Fruits and vegetables
Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)
Other food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence
Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)
Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles(3)
Used cars and trucks(1)
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)
Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)
Motor vehicle insurance(1)
Education and communication(3)
Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)
Other goods and services
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
Commodities less food
Nondurables less food
Services less rent of shelter(2)
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy
Last Modified Date: Friday, January 11, 2019