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News Release Information

19-430-PHI
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

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Consumer Price Index, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson – February 2019

Area prices up 0.5 percent since December; up 0.8 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson increased 0.5 percent from December to February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the recent two-month increase was due largely to a 0.5-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index and food index also increased since December, up 1.0 and 0.4 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 0.8 percent. The over-the-year rise was led by an increase in the all items less food and energy index (1.5 percent). The food index also rose over the year, up 1.6 percent, while prices for energy decreased since February 2018, down 7.7 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index increased 0.4 percent over the last two months. Prices rose for food at home, up 0.7 percent, while prices were unchanged for food away from home. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for various items including carbonated drinks; cakes, cupcakes, and cookies; and milk. Prices were lower for items including tomatoes and snacks, among others.

Over the year, the food index increased 1.6 percent. Prices rose for both food away from home and food at home, up 3.0 and 0.5 percent, respectively.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 1.0 percent, due largely to a 1.8-percent rise in electricity prices since December. Prices were also higher over the last two months for gasoline, edging up 0.2 percent, while those for utility (piped) gas service decreased 0.8 percent.

Over the year, the energy index declined 7.7 percent. Prices were lower for gasoline (-13.0 percent), electricity (-1.9 percent), and utility (piped) gas service (-7.5 percent), since February 2018.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.5 percent from December to February. Higher prices for medical care (2.3 percent) and new vehicles (2.2 percent) were moderated by lower prices for shelter (-0.4 percent), among others.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.5 percent since February 2018, led by higher prices for shelter, up 2.9 percent. Prices also rose over the year for medical care (4.8 percent), but were lower for apparel (-8.0 percent).

The Consumer Price Index for April 2019 is scheduled to be released Friday, May 10, 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
Dec.
2018
Jan.
2019
Feb.
2019
Feb.
2018
Dec.
2018
Jan.
2019

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0
253.218 254.4330.80.5 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF
261.595 262.5721.80.4 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF1
261.140 262.1491.60.4 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF11
234.660234.403236.3830.50.70.8

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF111
288.530 293.8431.01.8 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF112
218.699 226.106-2.23.4 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEFJ
225.725 233.0955.63.3 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF113
292.083 288.7400.8-1.1 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF114
178.412 181.6432.01.8 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF115
215.339 210.725-0.2-2.1 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEFV
299.923 299.8843.00.0 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF116
265.245 265.8134.60.2 

Housing(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH
260.561 260.4552.10.0 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH1
308.410308.558307.2142.9-0.4-0.4

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHA
362.040362.781361.7314.4-0.1-0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHC
320.597320.807320.0842.5-0.2-0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHC01
320.597320.807320.0842.5-0.2-0.2

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH2
229.197 232.675-1.61.5 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH21
201.447198.805204.914-2.41.73.1

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF
215.838212.818219.240-2.51.63.0

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF01
203.414200.306207.139-1.91.83.4

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF02
184.163183.826182.613-7.5-0.8-0.7

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH3
118.217 120.272-1.41.7 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAA
132.228 131.439-8.0-0.6 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAT
195.006 196.540-3.90.8 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAT1
193.379 195.459-3.91.1 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA
96.643 98.412-2.01.8 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA01
195.977 200.318-1.72.2 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA02
237.270 240.1641.41.2 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETB
197.529192.595197.888-12.80.22.7

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETB01
192.679187.860193.075-13.00.22.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47014
193.946188.806194.253-13.20.22.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47015
210.247206.085211.960-11.70.82.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47016
205.677202.950206.664-11.10.51.8

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETE
835.797 832.794-1.5-0.4 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAM
431.275 441.3864.82.3 

Recreation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAR
124.271 126.5072.21.8 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAE
146.449 147.2691.60.6 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEEB
1,191.700 1,195.7933.70.3 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAG
419.084 419.7970.50.2 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAC
180.013 182.263-1.91.2 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESACL11
143.198 145.664-3.91.7 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESANL11
184.762 186.575-5.91.0 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAD
100.166 102.643-1.72.5 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAS
324.599 324.9152.30.1 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L2
232.244 234.552-0.31.0 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L5
244.389 245.1410.50.3 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESACL1
146.858 149.301-3.61.7 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAN
220.086 221.554-2.10.7 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESANL1
189.234 190.983-5.20.9 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESASL2RS
354.527 357.0081.60.7 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESASL5
314.170 313.7922.0-0.1 

Energy(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0E
203.600199.743205.564-7.71.02.9

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0LE
258.872 260.0191.50.4 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L1E
258.449 259.6131.50.5 

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: Tuesday, March 12, 2019