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20-972-PHI
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

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Consumer Price Index, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson – April 2020

Area prices decreased 0.1 percent since February; up 0.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson declined 0.1 percent from February to April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the recent two-month decrease was due to a decline in the energy index, down 9.2 percent. The food index rose since February, up 3.7 percent, while the all items less food and energy index was unchanged over the period. (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 0.1 percent. The over-the-year rise was due to increases in both the all items less food and energy index (0.8 percent) and the food index (4.5 percent). The energy index dropped over the year, down 16.3 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index advanced 3.7 percent over the last two months, the largest two-month increase in the history of the index. Prices increased for food at home, up 5.5 percent, also the largest two-month increase for this index. Prices for food away from home also rose, up 1.8 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for eggs and bread, while prices were lower for uncooked beef steaks, among others.

Over the year, the food index increased 4.5 percent. Prices rose for both food at home (5.8 percent) and for food away from home (3.2 percent).

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 9.2 percent since February, led by lower prices for gasoline (-18.6 percent). Prices for utility (piped) gas service also decreased over the last two months, down 2.8 percent, while those for electricity were up 0.7 percent.

Over the year, the energy index dropped 16.3 percent. Prices were lower for gasoline, down 29.7 percent, and electricity, down 2.8 percent. Prices increased for utility (piped) gas service (8.1 percent) since April 2019.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged from February to April. Higher prices for medical care (5.9 percent) and shelter (0.4 percent) were moderated by lower prices for apparel (-10.0 percent) and recreation (-2.3 percent), among others.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.8 percent since April 2019, led by higher prices for shelter (1.2 percent), education and communication (5.0 percent), and medical care (2.1 percent). Prices were lower for recreation (-3.0 percent) and new and used motor vehicles (-1.2 percent).

The Consumer Price Index for June 2020 is scheduled to be released Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 8:30 am (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on April 2020 Consumer Price Index Data

Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in April was affected by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the number of prices considered temporarily unavailable and imputed. While the CPI program attempted to collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month. Additional information is available at
www.bls.gov/bls/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-bls-price-indexes.htm#CPI.


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
Feb.
2020
Mar.
2020
Apr.
2020
Apr.
2019
Feb.
2020
Mar.
2020

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0
259.121 258.9780.1-0.1 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF
265.763 275.0584.33.5 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF1
265.351 275.0844.53.7 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF11
234.132237.301247.0205.85.54.1

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF111
288.334 299.2263.43.8 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF112
232.050 253.26112.99.1 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEFJ
234.638 235.2262.50.3 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF113
277.825 305.8746.110.1 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF114
172.116 173.424-1.50.8 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF115
211.114 218.4295.03.5 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEFV
311.010 316.6183.21.8 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF116
268.804 271.3821.21.0 

Housing(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH
262.891 263.4470.70.2 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH1
310.636312.045311.9271.20.40.0

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHA
367.044369.091368.9402.10.50.0

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHC
326.985327.802328.5072.30.50.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHC01
326.985327.802328.5072.30.50.2

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH2
232.431 231.520-1.3-0.4 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH21
203.091202.194201.874-2.4-0.6-0.2

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF
217.325217.206217.614-1.80.10.2

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF01
203.372204.730204.730-2.80.70.0

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF02
194.755186.953189.3208.1-2.81.3

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH3
121.349 120.061-1.4-1.1 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAA
134.724 121.279-1.0-10.0 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAT
202.302 192.006-7.2-5.1 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAT1
198.849 190.970-6.9-4.0 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA
96.955 97.507-1.20.6 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA01
196.453 198.504-0.91.0 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA02
238.809 241.500-0.61.1 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETB
206.690197.447168.480-29.5-18.5-14.7

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETB01
202.110193.143164.439-29.7-18.6-14.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47014
203.480193.730163.687-30.8-19.6-15.5

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47015
222.571217.208200.449-20.0-9.9-7.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47016
214.962211.146188.695-21.8-12.2-10.6

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETE
908.685 808.318-5.7-11.0 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAM
457.298 484.5022.15.9 

Recreation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAR
129.114 126.135-3.0-2.3 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAE
152.048 153.0215.00.6 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEEB
1,247.158 1,247.1994.30.0 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAG
430.662     

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAC
184.087 182.639-1.8-0.8 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESACL11
146.962 141.906-5.4-3.4 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESANL11
192.356 176.888-10.2-8.0 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAD
101.402 102.212-0.70.8 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAS
332.272 333.4191.10.3 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L2
239.869 239.111-0.6-0.3 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L5
249.250 247.682-0.1-0.6 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESACL1
150.644 145.711-5.1-3.3 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAN
226.153 222.676-2.4-1.5 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESANL1
196.617 182.136-9.4-7.4 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESASL2RS
369.995 370.9370.80.3 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESASL5
320.063 318.6150.8-0.5 

Energy(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0E
209.568204.599190.368-16.3-9.2-7.0

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0LE
264.803 266.2021.30.5 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L1E
264.598 264.7020.80.0 

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, May 12, 2020