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21-428-PHI
Wednesday, March 10, 2021

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

Area prices increased 0.1 percent since December; up 1.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson inched up 0.1 percent from December to February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Acting Regional Commissioner Frank Waligorski noted that the recent bi-monthly increase was mostly due to a rise in the energy index, up 3.2 percent. The food index also rose since December, up 0.7 percent, while the all items less food and energy index declined 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 increased 1.1 percent. The over-the-year rise was due to increases in the all items less food and energy index (0.9 percent) and the food index (2.6 percent). (See chart 1.) The energy index was unchanged over the year. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index rose from December to February, up 0.7 percent. Prices increased for food at home, up 1.7 percent since December, while prices declined for food away from home, down 0.4 percent.

Over the year, the food index increased 2.6 percent. Prices rose for both food at home (3.7 percent) and for food away from home (1.5 percent).

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 3.2 percent since December, due to higher prices for gasoline (8.8 percent). Prices for electricity and utility (piped) gas service declined over the past two months, down 1.9 and 6.0 percent, respectively.

Over the year, the energy index was unchanged. Lower prices for electricity (-7.6 percent) were offset by higher prices for gasoline (6.9 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (0.2 percent) since February 2020.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged down 0.2 percent from December to February. Lower prices for new and used motor vehicles (-3.2 percent) and recreation (-1.8 percent) were offset by higher prices for shelter (0.4 percent), among others.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.9 percent since February 2020, led by higher prices for shelter (1.8 percent), particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (2.7 percent). Prices were lower for apparel (-7.5 percent) and new vehicles (-2.9 percent) over the year.

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on February 2021 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 February 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
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021
Feb.
2021
Feb.
2020
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021

All items

261.535   261.917 1.1 0.1  

Food and beverages

271.703   273.430 2.9 0.6  

Food

270.572   272.363 2.6 0.7  

Food at home

238.904 240.281 242.895 3.7 1.7 1.1

Cereals and bakery products

290.919   291.251 1.0 0.1  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

233.468   241.859 4.2 3.6  

Dairy and related products

237.810   241.471 2.9 1.5  

Fruits and vegetables

290.371   297.256 7.0 2.4  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

177.425   177.625 3.2 0.1  

Other food at home

215.183   216.808 2.7 0.8  

Food away from home

316.905   315.755 1.5 -0.4  

Alcoholic beverages

285.521   286.261 6.5 0.3  

Housing(1)

265.303   265.897 1.1 0.2  

Shelter

314.960 315.411 316.234 1.8 0.4 0.3

Rent of primary residence

366.082 366.220 365.863 -0.3 -0.1 -0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

333.963 334.603 335.687 2.7 0.5 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

333.963 334.603 335.687 2.7 0.5 0.3

Fuels and utilities

224.587   220.586 -5.1 -1.8  

Household energy

194.215 191.270 190.276 -6.3 -2.0 -0.5

Energy services

208.849 205.203 203.396 -6.4 -2.6 -0.9

Electricity

191.540 189.455 187.882 -7.6 -1.9 -0.8

Utility (piped) gas service

207.603 197.381 195.143 0.2 -6.0 -1.1

Household furnishings and operations

121.945   122.315 0.8 0.3  

Apparel

121.090   124.580 -7.5 2.9  

Transportation

199.956   199.528 -1.4 -0.2  

Private transportation

202.693   203.366 2.3 0.3  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

100.980   97.727 0.8 -3.2  

New vehicles(1)

199.934   190.674 -2.9 -4.6  

Used cars and trucks(1)

261.673   259.844 8.8 -0.7  

Motor fuel

203.092 211.627 220.834 6.8 8.7 4.4

Gasoline (all types)

198.577 206.971 216.027 6.9 8.8 4.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

199.167 208.053 217.550 6.9 9.2 4.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

232.048 236.907 242.653 9.0 4.6 2.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

215.492 221.269 228.292 6.2 5.9 3.2

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

747.828   749.862 -17.5 0.3  

Medical care

479.745   480.759 5.1 0.2  

Recreation

128.590   126.244 -2.2 -1.8  

Education and communication(3)

154.875   154.626 1.7 -0.2  

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

1,268.203   1,268.218 1.7 0.0  

Other goods and services

447.627   451.857 4.9 0.9  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

185.994   187.151 1.7 0.6  

Commodities less food and beverages

147.392   148.297 0.9 0.6  

Nondurables less food and beverages

187.019   193.128 0.4 3.3  

Durables

104.565   102.798 1.4 -1.7  

Services

335.178   334.793 0.8 -0.1  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

241.492   241.496 0.7 0.0  

All items less medical care

250.624   250.974 0.7 0.1  

Commodities less food

151.421   152.328 1.1 0.6  

Nondurables

226.264   230.226 1.8 1.8  

Nondurables less food

192.490   198.306 0.9 3.0  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

370.904   368.172 -0.5 -0.7  

Services less medical care services

321.029   320.463 0.1 -0.2  

Energy(1)

203.047 205.606 209.539 0.0 3.2 1.9

All items less energy

267.956   267.845 1.1 0.0  

All items less food and energy

267.429   267.022 0.9 -0.2  

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: Wednesday, March 10, 2021