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Wednesday, November 10, 2021


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

Area prices increased 2.3 percent since August; up 6.3 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson increased 2.3 percent from August to October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that the recent bi-monthly increase was the largest since March 2008 and was due largely to a rise in the all items less food and energy index, up 2.3 percent. The energy index and the food index also rose since August, up 6.4 and 0.6 percent, respectively. (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 largest 12-month change in over 13 years. The over-the-year rise was mostly due to a 5.3-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index and the food index also rose over the year, up 27.4 and 3.3 percent, respectively. (See chart 1 and table 1.)


The food index rose from August to October, up 0.6 percent, reflecting increases for food away from home, up 0.7 percent, and for food at home, up 0.5 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for the meats, poultry, fish, and eggs group along with the nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials, and cereals and bakery products groups, while other groups showed declines.

Over the year, the food index increased 3.3 percent. Prices rose for both food away from home (3.7 percent), and for food at home (2.9 percent).


The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 6.4 percent since August, led by higher prices for gasoline (7.2 percent). Prices for electricity and utility (piped) gas service also rose over the past 2 months, up 4.5 and 9.0 percent, respectively.

Over the year, the energy index increased 27.4 percent, the largest such increase since February 2011. In October it was led by higher prices for gasoline (at 43.7 percent it was more moderate than the recent peak of 57.9 percent in May). Prices were also higher for electricity (8.5 percent—the highest 12-month increase in more than 5 years) and utility (piped) gas service (24.0 percent—the highest 12-month rise since June 2017) since October 2020.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent from August to October. Almost half of the overall all items index was due to higher prices for new and used motor vehicles (11.7 percent), which were led by those for new vehicles (19.3 percent). Used cars and trucks, which had large increases earlier in the year, fell by 0.7 percent since August. Prices were higher for shelter (1.0 percent) and recreation (1.9 percent).

The index for all items less food and energy increased 5.3 percent since October 2020. The rise was led by higher prices for new and used motor vehicles (27.6 percent). Within that category prices for new vehicles rose 28.6 percent and those for used cars and trucks were up 27.2 percent. Prices were also higher for shelter over the year (2.7 percent).

The Consumer Price Index for December 2021 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 8:30 am (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on October 2021 Consumer Price Index Data

Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended almost entirely since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in October 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

Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson is published bi-monthly. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measures 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 and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at 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; 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

All items

271.067   277.415 6.3 2.3  

Food and beverages

282.159   283.694 3.1 0.5  


281.500   283.289 3.3 0.6  

Food at home

252.477 251.539 253.826 2.9 0.5 0.9

Cereals and bakery products

300.653   308.227 3.0 2.5  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

268.324   274.425 13.7 2.3  

Dairy and related products

248.928   246.747 1.4 -0.9  

Fruits and vegetables

294.589   291.787 -0.5 -1.0  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

170.323   178.533 -3.3 4.8  

Other food at home

228.103   222.609 -1.5 -2.4  

Food away from home

324.413   326.820 3.7 0.7  

Alcoholic beverages

288.735   286.410 -0.3 -0.8  


271.311   275.018 3.6 1.4  


321.563 324.401 324.719 2.7 1.0 0.1

Rent of primary residence

367.576 370.801 372.229 0.0 1.3 0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

339.912 342.651 343.116 2.4 0.9 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

339.912 342.651 343.116 2.4 0.9 0.1

Fuels and utilities

234.130   245.667 11.1 4.9  

Household energy

202.850 204.141 214.046 12.1 5.5 4.9

Energy services

216.991 218.416 228.467 11.0 5.3 4.6


198.696 199.250 207.652 8.5 4.5 4.2

Utility (piped) gas service

217.322 222.681 236.952 24.0 9.0 6.4

Household furnishings and operations

124.497   126.651 6.2 1.7  


124.180   128.220 14.9 3.3  


226.090   245.838 24.1 8.7  

Private transportation

228.869   252.124 26.4 10.2  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

113.141   126.322 27.6 11.7  

New vehicles(1)

206.404   246.152 28.6 19.3  

Used cars and trucks(1)

343.131   340.711 27.2 -0.7  

Motor fuel

265.223 265.909 284.236 43.8 7.2 6.9

Gasoline (all types)

259.750 260.426 278.354 43.7 7.2 6.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

262.703 263.448 282.417 45.3 7.5 7.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

280.445 281.417 294.749 32.5 5.1 4.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

266.725 266.900 279.777 33.5 4.9 4.8

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

745.285   752.593 -10.8 1.0  

Medical care

469.718   470.792 -1.8 0.2  


128.930   131.316 2.2 1.9  

Education and communication(3)

158.999   159.560 3.4 0.4  

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

1,312.470   1,320.520 4.1 0.6  

Other goods and services

457.205   461.303 5.9 0.9  

Commodity and service group


199.588   207.615 12.6 4.0  

Commodities less food and beverages

161.386   171.237 18.8 6.1  

Nondurables less food and beverages

204.967   211.238 15.3 3.1  


114.399   124.413 21.8 8.8  


340.663   345.329 2.9 1.4  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

252.380   260.162 8.4 3.1  

All items less medical care

261.192   267.826 7.1 2.5  

Commodities less food

165.294   174.965 18.0 5.9  


240.487   244.440 8.2 1.6  

Nondurables less food

209.634   215.434 14.0 2.8  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

374.844   381.886 3.3 1.9  

Services less medical care services

327.879   332.741 3.6 1.5  


237.847 238.875 253.098 27.4 6.4 6.0

All items less energy

275.503   281.170 5.1 2.1  

All items less food and energy

274.446   280.714 5.3 2.3  

(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, November 10, 2021