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21-65-PHI
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

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

Area prices increased 0.2 percent since October; up 1.4 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson edged up 0.2 percent from October to December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Acting Regional Commissioner Frank Waligorski noted that the recent bi-monthly increase was mostly due to a rise in the all items less food and energy index, up 0.4 percent. The energy index also rose since October, up 2.2 percent, while the food index declined 1.3 percent. (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 1.4 percent. The over-the-year rise was due to increases in the all items less food and energy index (1.5 percent) and the food index (2.5 percent). (See chart 1.) The energy index dropped over the year, down 2.2 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index decreased from October to December, down 1.3 percent. Prices declined for food at home, down 3.1 percent since October, while prices rose for food away from home, up 0.6 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for uncooked beef steaks, while prices were higher for canned fruits and vegetables, among other food categories.

Over the year, the food index increased 2.5 percent. Prices rose for both food away from home (2.7 percent) and for food at home (2.2 percent).

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 2.2 percent since October, led by higher prices for gasoline (2.5 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (8.7 percent). Electricity prices also increased over the last two months, inching up 0.1 percent.

Over the year, the energy index decreased 2.2 percent. Prices were lower for gasoline, down 6.0 percent. Prices also decreased for electricity (-0.2 percent), while they increased for utility (piped) gas service (16.3 percent) since December 2019.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent from October to December. Higher prices for new vehicles (4.4 percent), apparel (8.5 percent), and other goods and services (2.8 percent) among others, led the bimonthly increase in the all items less food and energy index.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.5 percent since December 2019, led by higher prices for shelter (1.8 percent). Prices were also higher for education and communication (2.7 percent) and other goods and services (8.1 percent), while prices were lower for recreation (-1.9 percent) over the year.

The Consumer Price Index for February 2021 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 8:30 am (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on December 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 December 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/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.htm.


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.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020
Dec.
2019
Oct.
2020
Nov.
2020

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0
260.892 261.5351.40.2 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF
275.192 271.7032.7-1.3 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF1
274.166 270.5722.5-1.3 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF11
246.575243.323238.9042.2-3.1-1.8

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF111
299.277 290.9192.8-2.8 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF112
241.380 233.4681.5-3.3 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEFJ
243.292 237.810-1.1-2.3 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF113
293.128 290.3713.1-0.9 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF114
184.636 177.4254.0-3.9 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF115
226.076 215.1832.7-4.8 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEFV
315.051 316.9052.70.6 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF116
287.384 285.5216.6-0.6 

Housing(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH
265.397 265.3031.70.0 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH1
316.324314.970314.9601.8-0.40.0

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHA
372.278367.550366.0820.1-1.7-0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHC
334.954333.635333.9632.5-0.30.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHC01
334.954333.635333.9632.5-0.30.1

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH2
221.130 224.5871.91.6 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH21
190.942192.390194.2151.61.70.9

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF
205.795207.360208.8492.31.50.7

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF01
191.320191.540191.540-0.20.10.0

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF02
191.042198.963207.60316.38.74.3

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH3
119.282 121.9450.42.2 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAA
111.620 121.090-1.98.5 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAT
198.059 199.956-0.91.0 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAT1
199.406 202.6930.61.6 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA
98.967 100.9803.52.0 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA01
191.475 199.9340.94.4 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA02
267.852 261.67310.1-2.3 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETB
197.717194.483203.092-6.02.74.4

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETB01
193.653190.419198.577-6.02.54.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47014
194.374190.873199.167-6.52.54.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47015
222.530219.959232.0481.14.35.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47016
209.538208.180215.492-3.62.83.5

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETE
844.112 747.828-17.7-11.4 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAM
479.216 479.7452.20.1 

Recreation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAR
128.501 128.590-1.90.1 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAE
154.284 154.8752.70.4 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEEB
1,268.771 1,268.2032.30.0 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAG
435.643 447.6278.12.8 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAC
184.435 185.9941.60.8 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESACL11
144.182 147.3920.82.2 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESANL11
183.173 187.019-1.42.1 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAD
102.177 104.5652.82.3 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAS
335.442 335.1781.4-0.1 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L2
239.983 241.4921.20.6 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L5
249.974 250.6241.40.3 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESACL1
148.292 151.4211.12.1 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAN
225.964 226.2640.90.1 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESANL1
188.957 192.490-0.81.9 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESASL2RS
369.578 370.9040.80.4 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESASL5
321.228 321.0291.2-0.1 

Energy(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0E
198.677197.887203.047-2.22.22.6

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0LE
267.611 267.9561.70.1 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L1E
266.471 267.4291.50.4 

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: Wednesday, January 13, 2021