Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

News Release Information

20-1747-PHI
Friday, September 11, 2020

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:

Consumer Price Index, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson – August 2020

Area prices increased 0.5 percent since June; up 0.7 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson increased 0.5 percent from June to August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the recent two-month increase was mostly due to a rise in the all items less food and energy index, up 0.7 percent. The energy index also rose since June, up 2.3 percent, while the food index decreased 1.5 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 0.7 percent. The over-the-year rise was due to increases in the all items less food and energy index (0.8 percent) and the food index (3.4 percent). (See chart 1.) The energy index dropped over the year, down 5.6 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index declined over the last two months, down 1.5 percent. Prices decreased for both food at home (-2.5 percent) and for food away from home (-0.4 percent) since June. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for uncooked ground beef and eggs, while prices were higher for milk, among others.

Over the year, the food index increased 3.4 percent. Prices rose for both food at home (4.5 percent) and for food away from home (2.3 percent).

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 2.3 percent since June, led by higher prices for gasoline (8.1 percent). Prices for utility (piped) gas service also increased over the last two months, up 0.8 percent, while those for electricity declined 3.4 percent.

Over the year, the energy index decreased 5.6 percent. Prices were lower for gasoline, dropping 12.1 percent. Prices increased for electricity and utility (piped) gas service, up 1.3 and 6.9 percent, respectively, since August 2019.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.7 percent from June to August. Higher prices for new and used motor vehicles (2.8 percent) and medical care (2.3 percent), among others, were moderated by lower prices for apparel (-2.5 percent).

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.8 percent since August 2019, led by higher prices for shelter (1.8 percent) and new and used motor vehicles (2.5 percent). Prices were lower for recreation (-2.5 percent) and apparel (-5.0 percent).

The Consumer Price Index for October 2020 is scheduled to be released Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 8:30 am (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on August 2020 Consumer Price Index Data

Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in August 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 www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.htm.


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
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020
Aug.
2020
Aug.
2019
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020

All items

257.942   259.336 0.7 0.5  

Food and beverages

274.883   271.071 3.2 -1.4  

Food

275.015   270.960 3.4 -1.5  

Food at home

248.618 245.646 242.418 4.5 -2.5 -1.3

Cereals and bakery products

309.128   295.256 1.7 -4.5  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

246.797   234.464 2.8 -5.0  

Dairy and related products

241.544   238.777 1.7 -1.1  

Fruits and vegetables

288.545   291.494 5.7 1.0  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

180.951   180.935 6.8 0.0  

Other food at home

230.580   222.977 7.2 -3.3  

Food away from home

314.300   313.084 2.3 -0.4  

Alcoholic beverages

269.598   269.501 0.3 0.0  

Housing(1)

263.487   263.885 1.5 0.2  

Shelter

313.208 313.897 314.273 1.8 0.3 0.1

Rent of primary residence

368.177 369.797 370.328 1.9 0.6 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

329.526 330.489 331.199 2.4 0.5 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

329.526 330.489 331.199 2.4 0.5 0.2

Fuels and utilities

224.101   219.787 2.3 -1.9  

Household energy

194.538 195.569 189.439 1.8 -2.6 -3.1

Energy services

209.898 211.136 204.213 2.4 -2.7 -3.3

Electricity

195.757 197.596 189.159 1.3 -3.4 -4.3

Utility (piped) gas service

191.590 189.130 193.186 6.9 0.8 2.1

Household furnishings and operations

119.234   119.499 -1.9 0.2  

Apparel

121.157   118.075 -5.0 -2.5  

Transportation

192.896   197.236 -2.5 2.2  

Private transportation

193.047   199.637 -0.2 3.4  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

95.991   98.673 2.5 2.8  

New vehicles(1)

193.755   193.817 -0.2 0.0  

Used cars and trucks(1)

237.002   259.435 4.4 9.5  

Motor fuel

182.106 195.114 196.798 -12.1 8.1 0.9

Gasoline (all types)

178.131 190.995 192.609 -12.1 8.1 0.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

178.701 191.979 193.607 -12.3 8.3 0.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

202.211 217.304 218.554 -7.8 8.1 0.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

194.094 204.587 206.379 -10.7 6.3 0.9

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

889.669   914.096 7.1 2.7  

Medical care

466.525   477.412 0.7 2.3  

Recreation

123.437   126.692 -2.5 2.6  

Education and communication(3)

152.140   152.751 2.4 0.4  

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

1,247.122   1,257.234 2.0 0.8  

Other goods and services

433.662   435.247 2.3 0.4  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

182.352   183.442 0.1 0.6  

Commodities less food and beverages

141.595   144.310 -1.8 1.9  

Nondurables less food and beverages

179.972   184.382 -4.7 2.5  

Durables

100.302   101.759 1.2 1.5  

Services

331.646   333.336 1.1 0.5  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

237.071   238.622 0.2 0.7  

All items less medical care

247.526   248.428 0.7 0.4  

Commodities less food

145.366   148.043 -1.7 1.8  

Nondurables

224.174   224.608 -0.4 0.2  

Nondurables less food

184.954   189.117 -4.3 2.3  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

364.746   367.388 0.2 0.7  

Services less medical care services

318.413   319.148 1.0 0.2  

Energy(1)

193.035 199.903 197.423 -5.6 2.3 -1.2

All items less energy

264.859   266.020 1.1 0.4  

All items less food and energy

263.161   265.132 0.8 0.7  

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: Friday, September 11, 2020