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Thursday, January 12, 2023
Prices in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), decreased 0.1 percent for the 2 months ending in December 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted the decrease reflected declines in multiple indexes led by decreasing gasoline prices. The energy index continued to decrease, down 4.3 percent in December after dropping 0.8 percent in October while the all items less food and energy index increased 0.2 percent and the food index increased 0.5 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 6.3 percent – the smallest increase since October 2021 - mostly due to a 5.6-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index while higher prices for shelter and medical care also contributed to the increase. The energy index rose 10.1 percent – the smallest over-the-year increase in over a year and a half. The food index advanced 8.9 percent in December, the lowest price increase of 2022. (See chart 1 and table 1.)Food
Food prices rose 0.5 percent for the 2 months ending in December - the smallest price increase in the last 2 years. Gains in food away from home prices (2.2 percent – the largest increase for this index in 2022) were offset by food at home prices falling 0.3 percent in the same period. Within food at home, every category but meats, poultry, fish and eggs decreased. Fruits and vegetables decreased 1.8 percent, dairy and related products fell 2.0 percent, nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials prices decreased 1.4 percent and other food at home decreased 0.5 percent. The meats, poultry, fish, and egg index advanced 2.3 percent as the price of eggs rose while chicken prices fell.
Over the year, the food index rose 8.9 percent, down from its notable 12.9-percent increase in October – which was the largest since the index started in 1999. This increase was driven by the food at home index advancing 10.9 percent, continuing a trend of price increases which began in mid-2021. The food at home increase was led by a 13.8-percent rise in the other food at home index and a 10.1-percent increase in the meats, poultry, fish, and eggs index; both were well below their recent peaks earlier in 2022. The other grocery categories also increased. Food away from home prices increased 5.3 percent – the lowest increase since October 2021.Energy
The energy index decreased 4.3 percent for the 2 months ending in December (see table 1). The decrease was mainly due to lower gasoline prices, down 12.4 percent following a 5.7 percent drop in October. The utility (piped) gas service index, up 12.9 percent, and electricity index, up 2.5 percent, helped offset the overall decrease in the energy index.
The energy index had its smallest 12-month gain of 2022, increasing 10.1 percent over the year and continuing the trend of moderating price increases that followed a peak of 40.7 percent in June 2022. The increase was largely due to higher prices for electricity (21.8 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (20.8 percent). Gasoline prices fell 2.9 percent over the year, ending nearly 2 years of over-the-year increases which reached 64.6 percent in June 2022.All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in the latest 2-month period due in part to higher prices for medical care (3.5 percent), shelter (0.3 percent) and other goods and services (2.1 percent). Higher medical care prices were driven by increases in both medical care commodities and medical care service prices. Gains in owners' equivalent rent of residences (up 0.8 percent) and rent of primary residences (up 0.7 percent) were somewhat offset by decreasing prices for lodging away from home. The overall increase was offset by decreasing prices in new and used motor vehicles (-1.7 percent), apparel (-5.8 percent) and recreation (-0.9 percent). Within the new and used motor vehicles index, prices for used cars and trucks decreased 4.8 percent, the second decline in that category.
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 5.6 percent, marking the second month of moderating prices after a historic increase (8.8 percent) in August; it was the smallest price increase since October 2021. Shelter prices were up 6.7 percent due in part to the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index advancing 6.5 percent and rent of primary residence increasing 6.8 percent; lodging away from home prices also were higher. The medical care index increased 7.3 percent (its largest increase since December 2019) due to higher prices for both medical care commodities and medical care services. The household furnishings and operations index rose 9.1 percent over the year, down from its September 12-month peak (11.8 percent) which was the largest increase since this index started in 1999.
The February 2023 Consumer Price Index for the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area is scheduled to be released on March 14, 2023.
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 U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. 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; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000. Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cpi/. 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, Carroll, Harford, Howard, and Queen Anne’s counties, as well as Baltimore City, in Maryland.
Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.
|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)
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: Thursday, January 12, 2023