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Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Prices in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased 1.2 percent for the 2 months ending in February 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted the rise reflected increases in multiple indexes led by a higher shelter index, part of the all items less food and energy index which increased 1.0 percent in February. The food index increased 1.7 percent and the energy index increased 2.0 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 6.1 percent—continuing the trend of moderating price increases which started after the series peaked in June—mostly due to a 5.8 percent increase in the all items less food and energy index which was well below the 8.8 percent peak in August. The food index advanced 8.4 percent since December, the smallest increase in over a year. The energy index rose 6.4 percent —ending the trend of double-digit over-the-year increases which began in April 2021 and peaked at 40.7 percent in June 2022. (See chart 1 and table 1.)Food
Food prices rose 1.7 percent for the 2 months ending in February—up after the smallest price increase in the last 2 years in December. Food at home prices increased 1.8 percent as most of the grocery categories increased after falling in December. Prices for nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials (5.7 percent); other food at home (1.6 percent); fruits and vegetables (1.8 percent); and dairy and related products (3.1 percent) all rose. Food away from home prices advanced 1.4 percent, less than December’s 2.2 percent increase.
Over the year, the food index rose 8.4 percent, marking the second consecutive month of moderating prices since the 12.9-percent increase in October (which was the largest since that index started in 1999). This increase was driven by the food at home index up just 9.2 percent, part of price increases which began in mid-2021 and were in low double digits throughout 2022. The food at home increase was led by a 9.2 percent rise in the other food at home index, down from 13.8 percent in December. Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials advanced 22.3 percent—the largest increase since the series began in 2018—while meats, poultry, fish and egg prices increased 6.6 percent, well below its peak of 20.7 percent in April 2022. Higher prices for cereals and bakery products and dairy and related products were also below their recent peaks. Food away from home prices rose 6.9 percent – up from a 5.3-percent increase in December.Energy
The energy index has generally moderated after peaking at 13.5 percent in June 2022; it was up just 2.0 percent for the 2 months ending in February (see table 1). The rise was mainly due to higher gasoline prices, up 3.1 percent following 3 declines that ranged from 5.7 to 20.5 percent. The increase in the electricity index, up 2.1 percent, was well below October’s high of 8.8 percent. Contributing to the overall moderation were falling utility (piped) gas service prices, down 1.6 percent.
The energy index had its smallest 12-month gain since early 2020, increasing just 6.4 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 (17.7 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (16.5 percent) although they also were below recent peaks. Gasoline prices fell 5.0 percent over the year after its own June 2022 peak of 64.6 percent.All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.0 percent in the latest 2-month period due in large part to higher prices for shelter (1.7 percent), apparel (10.6 percent—largest increase in over 4 years) and recreation (2.5 percent). Within shelter, prices increased for all three components, led by owners' equivalent rent of residences (up 1.5 percent). The overall increase was offset by decreasing prices for medical care (down 0.7 percent) as medical care commodity prices and medical care service prices both declined. New and used motor vehicle prices fell 0.2 percent as decreasing used cars and trucks prices (down 3.3 percent) offset the 0.7 percent price increase for new vehicles.
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 5.8 percent. Shelter prices were up 7.2 percent – matching the January 2007 historic high for the series. This was due in part to the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index advancing 6.9 percent—also the largest increase since January 2007—and rent of primary residence, up 7.2 percent. Lodging away from home prices also were higher. Medical care prices rose 5.5 percent due to higher prices for medical care commodities and medical care services over the year. The household furnishings and operations index rose 8.0 percent over the year, continuing the trend of moderating price increases since its October 12-month peak (11.8 percent - the largest increase since this index started in 1999). Used cars and trucks prices decreased 13.6 percent—the largest price decrease since the series began in 2018—partially offsetting the 5.0 percent increase for new vehicles in the new and used motor vehicle index (1.8 percent) which have generally moderated since it peaked at 37.9 percent in February 2022.
The April 2023 Consumer Price Index for the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area is scheduled to be released on May 10, 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: Tuesday, March 14, 2023