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21-428-PHI
Wednesday, March 10, 2021

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Consumer Price Index, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson – February 2021

Area prices increased 0.1 percent since December; up 1.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson inched up 0.1 percent from December to February, 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 energy index, up 3.2 percent. The food index also rose since December, up 0.7 percent, while the all items less food and energy index declined 0.2 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 1.1 percent. The over-the-year rise was due to increases in the all items less food and energy index (0.9 percent) and the food index (2.6 percent). (See chart 1.) The energy index was unchanged over the year. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index rose from December to February, up 0.7 percent. Prices increased for food at home, up 1.7 percent since December, while prices declined for food away from home, down 0.4 percent.

Over the year, the food index increased 2.6 percent. Prices rose for both food at home (3.7 percent) and for food away from home (1.5 percent).

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 3.2 percent since December, due to higher prices for gasoline (8.8 percent). Prices for electricity and utility (piped) gas service declined over the past two months, down 1.9 and 6.0 percent, respectively.

Over the year, the energy index was unchanged. Lower prices for electricity (-7.6 percent) were offset by higher prices for gasoline (6.9 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (0.2 percent) since February 2020.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged down 0.2 percent from December to February. Lower prices for new and used motor vehicles (-3.2 percent) and recreation (-1.8 percent) were offset by higher prices for shelter (0.4 percent), among others.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.9 percent since February 2020, led by higher prices for shelter (1.8 percent), particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (2.7 percent). Prices were lower for apparel (-7.5 percent) and new vehicles (-2.9 percent) over the year.

The Consumer Price Index for April 2021 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 8:30 am (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on February 2021 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 February 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
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021
Feb.
2021
Feb.
2020
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021

All items

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0
261.535 261.9171.10.1 

Food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF
271.703 273.4302.90.6 

Food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF1
270.572 272.3632.60.7 

Food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF11
238.904240.281242.8953.71.71.1

Cereals and bakery products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF111
290.919 291.2511.00.1 

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF112
233.468 241.8594.23.6 

Dairy and related products

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEFJ
237.810 241.4712.91.5 

Fruits and vegetables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF113
290.371 297.2567.02.4 

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF114
177.425 177.6253.20.1 

Other food at home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF115
215.183 216.8082.70.8 

Food away from home

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEFV
316.905 315.7551.5-0.4 

Alcoholic beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAF116
285.521 286.2616.50.3 

Housing(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH
265.303 265.8971.10.2 

Shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH1
314.960315.411316.2341.80.40.3

Rent of primary residence

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHA
366.082366.220365.863-0.3-0.1-0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHC
333.963334.603335.6872.70.50.3

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHC01
333.963334.603335.6872.70.50.3

Fuels and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH2
224.587 220.586-5.1-1.8 

Household energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH21
194.215191.270190.276-6.3-2.0-0.5

Energy services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF
208.849205.203203.396-6.4-2.6-0.9

Electricity

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF01
191.540189.455187.882-7.6-1.9-0.8

Utility (piped) gas service

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEHF02
207.603197.381195.1430.2-6.0-1.1

Household furnishings and operations

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAH3
121.945 122.3150.80.3 

Apparel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAA
121.090 124.580-7.52.9 

Transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAT
199.956 199.528-1.4-0.2 

Private transportation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAT1
202.693 203.3662.30.3 

New and used motor vehicles(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA
100.980 97.7270.8-3.2 

New vehicles(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA01
199.934 190.674-2.9-4.6 

Used cars and trucks(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETA02
261.673 259.8448.8-0.7 

Motor fuel

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETB
203.092211.627220.8346.88.74.4

Gasoline (all types)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETB01
198.577206.971216.0276.98.84.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47014
199.167208.053217.5506.99.24.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47015
232.048236.907242.6539.04.62.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESS47016
215.492221.269228.2926.25.93.2

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESETE
747.828 749.862-17.50.3 

Medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAM
479.745 480.7595.10.2 

Recreation

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAR
128.590 126.244-2.2-1.8 

Education and communication(3)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAE
154.875 154.6261.7-0.2 

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

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESEEB
1,268.203 1,268.2181.70.0 

Other goods and services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAG
447.627 451.8574.90.9 

Commodity and service group

Commodities

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAC
185.994 187.1511.70.6 

Commodities less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESACL11
147.392 148.2970.90.6 

Nondurables less food and beverages

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESANL11
187.019 193.1280.43.3 

Durables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAD
104.565 102.7981.4-1.7 

Services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAS
335.178 334.7930.8-0.1 

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L2
241.492 241.4960.70.0 

All items less medical care

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L5
250.624 250.9740.70.1 

Commodities less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESACL1
151.421 152.3281.10.6 

Nondurables

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESAN
226.264 230.2261.81.8 

Nondurables less food

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESANL1
192.490 198.3060.93.0 

Services less rent of shelter(2)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESASL2RS
370.904 368.172-0.5-0.7 

Services less medical care services

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESASL5
321.029 320.4630.1-0.2 

Energy(1)

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0E
203.047205.606209.5390.03.21.9

All items less energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0LE
267.956 267.8451.10.0 

All items less food and energy

Go to web page with historical data for series CUURS35ESA0L1E
267.429 267.0220.9-0.2 

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, March 10, 2021