Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Prices in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased 0.7 percent for the 2 months ending in April 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted the rise was mostly due to the all items less food and energy index, also up 0.7 percent, led by increases for shelter as well as new and used cars and trucks. The energy index increased 2.9 percent and the food index was up 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 continued to moderate after the series peaked in June, rising 5.3 percent. The increase was mostly due to a 5.4 percent increase in the all items less food and energy index which also has continued to moderate since the 8.8 percent peak in August. The food index advanced 7.2 percent since April, the smallest increase in over a year and a half. The energy index rose 1.9 percent, well below the recent peak of 40.7 percent in June. (See chart 1 and table 1.)Food
Food prices rose 0.2 percent for the 2 months ending in April as food away from home prices were up 1.3 percent and grocery prices decreased 0.4 percent (the first price decrease since December). Prices for other food at home rose 3.9 percent while the remaining grocery categories all had lower prices led by a 2.6 percent drop in fruits and vegetable prices. Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials (down 3.9 percent; largest decrease since 2021); meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (down 1.8 percent) and cereals and bakery products (down 0.3 percent) all fell.
Over the year, food index prices continued to moderate, up 7.2 percent, well below the series-record 12.9 percent increase in October. The food at home index increased 6.2 percent. The other food at home index rose 14.4 percent. Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials advanced 12.4 percent – down from the series peak of 22.3 percent in February. Cereals and bakery product prices continued to moderate, up 7.1 percent. The dairy and related products index and meats, poultry, fish, and eggs index rose 6.8 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively. The increases were offset by a 4.7 percent decrease in fruits and vegetables prices – the largest since the series began in 2018. Food away from home prices rose 9.0 percent.Energy
The energy index has generally moderated after peaking at 13.5 percent in June 2022; it was up just 2.9 percent for the 2 months ending in April (see table 1). The rise was mainly due to higher gasoline prices, up 6.9 percent, the largest price increase since the June 2022 peak of 25.7 percent. The electricity index advanced 3.8 percent but the utility (piped) gas service index was down 27.4 percent – the largest price decrease since July 2003.
The energy index continued the trend of moderating price increases, up just 1.9 percent over the year, well below the peak of 40.7 percent in June 2022. The increase was largely due to higher prices for electricity, up 19.0 percent, as gasoline prices fell 8.9 percent over the year and the utility (piped) gas service index fell 13.4 percent, the first decline after 39 consecutive months of price increases.All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.7 percent in the latest 2-month period due in large part to higher prices for shelter (up 0.7 percent), new and used motor vehicles (up 1.9 percent), and medical care (up 1.7 percent). Within shelter, prices increased for all three components, led by owners' equivalent rent of residences (up 0.5 percent) and rent of primary residence (up 1.5 percent). Within the new and used motor vehicles index, prices for used cars and trucks increased 5.6 percent – the largest increase since June 2021 – while new vehicle prices increased 0.8 percent. Offsetting the overall increase were lower prices for apparel (down 3.2 percent), education and communication (down 1.1 percent), and household furnishings and operations (down 0.4).
The pace of over-the-year price increase continued to slow for all items less food and energy, up 5.4 percent compared with the peak 8.8 percent increase in August 2022. Shelter prices were up 5.8 percent – down from the February historic high for the series of 7.2 percent. The shelter increase was largely due to a 6.4 percent rise in the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index and a 7.3 percent increase in rent of primary residence. Medical care prices rose 8.9 percent over the year due to higher prices for medical care commodities and medical care services; this was the largest increase since October 2019. The household furnishings and operations index rose 7.2 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). New and used motor vehicle prices rose 3.7 percent due to new vehicle prices, up 5.9 percent in April. Used cars and trucks prices partially offset the overall increase, down 6.1 percent after February’s 13.6 percent decrease – the largest price decrease since that series began in 2018.
The June 2023 Consumer Price Index for the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area is scheduled to be released on July 12, 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: Wednesday, May 10, 2023