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News Release Information

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

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Consumer Price Index, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson – August 2022

Area prices were up 0.1 percent over the past 2 months, up 10.2 percent from a year ago

Prices in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased 0.1 percent for the 2 months ending in August 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted this increase was the smallest since an identical rise in February 2021. The all items less food and energy index increased 1.1 percent in August and was largely responsible for the increase, nearly offset by the change in the energy index, down 9.8 percent since June, the largest such decrease since December 2018. The food index increased 0.6 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 index increased 10.2 percent, down slightly from 10.6 percent in June. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted it was mostly due to a series-high 8.8-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index, marking 2 consecutive months of record movements for that index. Broad-based increases throughout the categories under the all items less food and energy index contributed considerably to the overall all items index increase. The energy index and the food index also rose, up 24.9 and 11.2 percent, respectively. (See chart 1 and table 1.)


Food prices rose 0.6 percent for the 2 months ending in August. The food at home index increased 0.6 percent, the smallest increase since October 2021. Within the food at home index, prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 3.5 percent as prices were higher for chicken as well as fresh fish and seafood.  Cereal and bakery product prices increased by 2.1 percent. Decreasing prices for fruits and vegetables (-3.1 percent), including citrus fruits, helped temper the overall rise for food at home prices. The food away from home index increased 0.7 percent in August 2022 after advancing 1.6 percent in June.

Over the year, the food index rose 11.2 percent as prices increased for both food at home (11.6 percent), and food away from home (8.7 percent). The food at home index was led by a 11.7 percent rise in the other food at home category. Also contributing to the increase in grocery prices was a 19.1 percent advance in cereals and bakery products – the largest increase since the series began in 2018. Higher prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (9.8 percent) also contributed to the increase of the food at home index although it was the smallest such rise in just over a year.


The energy index decreased 9.8 percent for the 2 months ending in August (see table 1.), representing the largest energy index decrease since December 2018. The drop was mainly due to lower gasoline prices, down 20.5 percent, the largest 2-month decrease in over 7 years. The index for electricity increased 6.5 percent after a 5.3 percent decline in June. Prices for utility (piped) gas service increased 10.0 percent for the same period, following a 16.3 percent rise in June.

Energy prices increased 24.9 percent over the year, largely due to higher prices for gasoline (27.9 percent – the smallest 12-month rise in over a year. From April 2021 to June 2022, over-the-year gasoline price increases ranged from 34.1 to 64.6 percent. The electricity index was up 15.8 percent. The utility (piped) gas service index was up 36.1 percent during the past year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.1 percent in the latest 2-month period due in part to higher prices for medical care; household furnishings and operations; and recreation. The increase in the all items less food and energy index was tempered by declines in public transportation prices as well as the education and communication index. Medical care prices increased 4.6 percent (the largest increase since April 2020) largely due to increased prices for medical care services. The household furnishing and operations index increased 5.2 percent in August, well above the 2-month rates of the previous year. Recreation prices increased 2.1 percent after a decrease of 0.8 percent in June. The shelter index advanced 0.2 percent due in part to the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index increasing 0.6 percent, while the rent of primary residence index moderated, up 1.2 percent in August after a 2.8 percent peak in June, and prices for lodging away from home decreased.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 8.8 percent. Shelter prices over the year increased 6.8 percent, about the same as in June, as owners’ equivalent rent of residences advanced 6.1 percent and rent of primary residence was up 7.6 percent. New and used motor vehicle prices increased 23.9 percent as new vehicle prices were up 32.6 percent over the year.

The October 2022 Consumer Price Index for the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area is scheduled to be released on November 10, 2022.

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 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; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.

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

298.273   298.641 10.2 0.1  

Food and beverages

310.322   312.501 10.8 0.7  


311.073   313.060 11.2 0.6  

Food at home

280.058 285.938 281.769 11.6 0.6 -1.5

Cereals and bakery products

350.501   357.978 19.1 2.1  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

284.705   294.712 9.8 3.5  

Dairy and related products

268.543   271.347 9.0 1.0  

Fruits and vegetables

324.195   314.088 6.6 -3.1  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

197.600   199.787 17.3 1.1  

Other food at home

255.508   254.689 11.7 -0.3  

Food away from home

350.140   352.564 8.7 0.7  

Alcoholic beverages

295.340   300.355 4.0 1.7  


290.591   293.871 8.3 1.1  


342.698 344.268 343.499 6.8 0.2 -0.2

Rent of primary residence

391.062 394.915 395.609 7.6 1.2 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

358.689 360.391 360.722 6.1 0.6 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

358.689 360.391 360.722 6.1 0.6 0.1

Fuels and utilities

266.149   277.836 18.7 4.4  

Household energy

235.059 244.808 246.048 21.3 4.7 0.5

Energy services

241.636 256.489 258.998 19.4 7.2 1.0


216.079 228.449 230.125 15.8 6.5 0.7

Utility (piped) gas service

268.735 289.956 295.670 36.1 10.0 2.0

Household furnishings and operations

132.243   139.110 11.7 5.2  


126.871   128.192 3.2 1.0  


292.493   278.062 23.0 -4.9  

Private transportation

298.396   286.467 25.2 -4.0  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

139.319   140.132 23.9 0.6  

New vehicles(1)

270.982   273.656 32.6 1.0  

Used cars and trucks(1)

371.851   372.332 8.5 0.1  

Motor fuel

427.544 388.784 340.258 28.3 -20.4 -12.5

Gasoline (all types)

417.659 379.752 332.157 27.9 -20.5 -12.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

425.581 386.057 336.705 28.2 -20.9 -12.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

434.622 400.283 356.674 27.2 -17.9 -10.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

405.244 375.258 335.574 25.8 -17.2 -10.6

Medical care

481.527   503.740 7.2 4.6  


135.416   138.208 7.2 2.1  

Education and communication(3)

160.151   159.823 0.5 -0.2  

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

1,304.247   1,312.857 0.0 0.7  

Other goods and services

483.135   494.423 8.1 2.3  

Commodity and service group


233.452   229.672 15.1 -1.6  

Commodities less food and beverages

195.038   189.835 17.6 -2.7  

Nondurables less food and beverages

255.778   236.269 15.3 -7.6  


134.693   137.057 19.8 1.8  


361.609   365.737 7.4 1.1  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

282.475   282.656 12.0 0.1  

All items less medical care

289.218   288.477 10.4 -0.3  

Commodities less food

198.705   193.632 17.1 -2.6  


281.595   271.591 12.9 -3.6  

Nondurables less food

258.427   240.016 14.5 -7.1  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

395.938   404.823 8.0 2.2  

Services less medical care services

349.489   351.902 7.3 0.7  


329.428 317.933 297.056 24.9 -9.8 -6.6

All items less energy

297.356   300.552 9.1 1.1  

All items less food and energy

295.218   298.563 8.8 1.1  

(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, September 13, 2022