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20-77-PHI
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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Consumer Price Index, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson – December 2019

Area prices increased 0.1 percent since October; up 1.8 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson inched up 0.1 percent from October to December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the recent two-month increase was due to increases in both the all items less food and energy index (0.1 percent) and food index (0.6 percent).  The energy index declined since October, down 0.9 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 1.8 percent. The over-the-year rise was due almost entirely to an increase in the all items less food and energy index (1.9 percent). The energy index and food index also rose over the year, up 2.0 and 1.1 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index advanced 0.6 percent over the last two months. Prices increased for food away from home, up 0.7 percent, and food at home, up 0.4 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for chicken and eggs, while prices were lower for nonfrozen noncarbonated juices and drinks.

Over the year, the food index increased 1.1 percent. Prices rose for food away from home (2.9 percent) while those for food at home declined (-0.4 percent).

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 0.9 percent since October. Prices were lower over the last two months for electricity (-2.1 percent); prices for gasoline and utility (piped) gas service also decreased, down 0.2 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Over the year, the energy index rose 2.0 percent. Prices were higher for gasoline, up 9.7 percent, while prices decreased for electricity (-5.6 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (-3.1 percent) since December 2018.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy inched up 0.1 percent from October to December. Higher prices for new and used motor vehicles (2.9 percent) and education and communication (0.9 percent) were moderated by lower prices for medical care (-3.7 percent), among others.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.9 percent since December 2018, led by higher prices for medical care (8.8 percent) and recreation (5.4 percent). Prices were lower for apparel (-6.6 percent), among others.

The Consumer Price Index for February 2020 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 8:30 am (ET).


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 category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019
Dec.
2019
Dec.
2018
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019

All items

257.616   257.847 1.8 0.1  

Food and beverages

263.097   264.502 1.1 0.5  

Food

262.568   264.079 1.1 0.6  

Food at home

232.677 231.054 233.690 -0.4 0.4 1.1

Cereals and bakery products

285.320   282.873 -2.0 -0.9  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

229.877   230.123 5.2 0.1  

Dairy and related products

238.557   240.367 6.5 0.8  

Fruits and vegetables

281.552   281.733 -3.5 0.1  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

166.172   170.550 -4.4 2.6  

Other food at home

208.403   209.613 -2.7 0.6  

Food away from home

306.359   308.602 2.9 0.7  

Alcoholic beverages

267.661   267.725 0.9 0.0  

Housing(1)

260.818   260.902 0.1 0.0  

Shelter

309.014 309.328 309.363 0.3 0.1 0.0

Rent of primary residence

363.532 365.013 365.802 1.0 0.6 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

323.649 324.910 325.867 1.6 0.7 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

323.649 324.910 325.867 1.6 0.7 0.3

Fuels and utilities

223.087   220.383 -3.8 -1.2  

Household energy

194.389 189.200 191.118 -5.1 -1.7 1.0

Energy services

208.408 202.397 204.227 -5.4 -2.0 0.9

Electricity

196.137 189.445 191.973 -5.6 -2.1 1.3

Utility (piped) gas service

180.178 183.845 178.522 -3.1 -0.9 -2.9

Household furnishings and operations

120.778   121.427 2.7 0.5  

Apparel

122.678   123.463 -6.6 0.6  

Transportation

198.690   201.787 3.5 1.6  

Private transportation

196.909   201.395 4.1 2.3  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

94.856   97.565 1.0 2.9  

New vehicles(1)

190.927   198.188 1.1 3.8  

Used cars and trucks(1)

239.217   237.770 0.2 -0.6  

Motor fuel

216.612 216.707 216.101 9.4 -0.2 -0.3

Gasoline (all types)

211.722 211.849 211.286 9.7 -0.2 -0.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

213.215 213.507 212.915 9.8 -0.1 -0.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

230.396 230.170 229.581 9.2 -0.4 -0.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

225.221 223.947 223.560 8.7 -0.7 -0.2

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

853.690   908.685 8.7 6.4  

Medical care

487.569   469.392 8.8 -3.7  

Recreation

129.671   131.039 5.4 1.1  

Education and communication(3)

149.558   150.852 3.0 0.9  

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

1,240.153   1,240.184 4.1 0.0  

Other goods and services

421.060   414.238 -1.2 -1.6  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

181.315   183.136 1.7 1.0  

Commodities less food and beverages

144.349   146.164 2.1 1.3  

Nondurables less food and beverages

189.983   189.609 2.6 -0.2  

Durables

98.916   101.680 1.5 2.8  

Services

331.871   330.683 1.9 -0.4  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

238.399   238.581 2.7 0.1  

All items less medical care

246.083   247.277 1.2 0.5  

Commodities less food

148.044   149.835 2.0 1.2  

Nondurables

223.743   224.139 1.8 0.2  

Nondurables less food

194.312   193.960 2.5 -0.2  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

371.359   367.965 3.8 -0.9  

Services less medical care services

316.596   317.286 1.0 0.2  

Energy(1)

209.635 207.016 207.695 2.0 -0.9 0.3

All items less energy

263.127   263.569 1.8 0.2  

All items less food and energy

263.068   263.371 1.9 0.1  

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: Tuesday, January 14, 2020