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15-1234-PHI
Thursday, June 18, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – May 2015

Area prices up 0.6 percent since March and 0.4 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Baltimore increased 0.6 percent over the last two months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted the rise was led by a 0.5-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index and the food index also rose since March, up 1.8 and 0.4 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 edged up 0.4 percent, due almost entirely to a 2.2-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since May 2014, the food index rose 0.8 percent, while the energy index dropped 17.8 percent. (See table 1.)

 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, Washington, D.C., May 2012-May 2015

Food

After declining 0.7 percent in March, the food index increased 0.4 percent over the last two months. Both components of the food index—food at home and food away from home—also increased 0.4 percent since March. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for various items including frozen fruits and vegetables, coffee, and fresh fish and seafood.

Food prices rose 0.8 percent over the year, reflecting higher prices for food away from home (2.4 percent). Conversely, prices for food at home declined 0.5 percent since last May.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 1.8 percent since March, due to an 8.1-percent advance in gasoline prices. Electricity and utility (piped) gas service prices were lower over the last two months, down 3.2 and 5.2 percent, respectively.

Energy prices fell 17.8 percent over the year, led by a 27.4-percent drop in gasoline prices. Electricity and utility (piped) gas service prices also declined since May 2014, down 4.3 and 6.1 percent, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.5 percent since March. The advance reflected price increases for medical care and shelter, up 1.8 and 0.3 percent, respectively. Moderating the rise in the all items less food and energy index were lower prices for apparel, down 3.9 percent over the last two months.

Since May 2014, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2 percent. The increase was due largely to an over-the-year rise in shelter prices (3.2 percent), as the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index was up 3.3 percent. Lower prices for other goods and services (-0.8 percent) moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index since last May.

Table A. Washington, D.C. CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

1.0 2.3 0.4 2.7 0.1 1.8 0.4 1.9 -1.0 -0.2

March

1.2 3.0 1.3 2.8 0.9 1.4 0.6 1.6 1.0 0.2

May

1.0 3.9 0.1 1.8 -0.2 1.2 0.4 2.2 0.6 0.4

July

0.1 4.1 -0.2 1.4 0.5 1.9 0.0 1.7    

September

-0.1 3.4 1.3 2.8 0.6 1.2 0.2 1.3    

November

-0.1 3.3 -0.7 2.1 -0.2 1.7 -0.4 1.2    

The Consumer Price Index for July 2015 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 19, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).


Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore 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 89 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 28 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 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 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/homch17_a.htm.

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 Washington-Baltimore, D.C.-Md.-Va.-W.Va., Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area includes the District of Columbia; Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, and Washington in Maryland; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park and the counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, King George, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren in Virginia; and the counties of Berkeley and Jefferson in West Virginia.

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, Washington-Baltimore, D.C.-Md.-Va.-W.Va., (December 1997=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
 
Historical
data
Mar.
2015
Apr.
2015
May
2015
May
2014
Mar.
2015
Apr.
2015

All items (1)

Jump to page with historical data
154.984   155.880 0.4 0.6  
 

Food and beverages (1)

Jump to page with historical data
154.709   155.349 1.0 0.4  

Food (1)

Jump to page with historical data
156.010   156.594 0.8 0.4  

Food at home

Jump to page with historical data
147.292 147.629 147.854 -0.5 0.4 0.2

Food away from home (2)

Jump to page with historical data
164.398   164.999 2.4 0.4  

Alcoholic beverages (2)

Jump to page with historical data
136.199   137.398 3.5 0.9  
 

Housing (1)

Jump to page with historical data
166.786   166.864 2.3 0.0  

Shelter

Jump to page with historical data
178.005 178.263 178.613 3.2 0.3 0.2

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

Jump to page with historical data
197.785 198.421 198.462 3.8 0.3 0.0

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3) (4)

Jump to page with historical data
178.172 178.529 178.247 3.3 0.0 -0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3) (4)

Jump to page with historical data
178.173 178.533 178.257 3.3 0.0 -0.2

Fuels and utilities

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183.031   177.753 -3.6 -2.9  

Household energy

Jump to page with historical data
174.635 169.703 168.382 -5.6 -3.6 -0.8

Gas (piped) and electricity (3)

Jump to page with historical data
167.108 162.278 160.999 -4.7 -3.7 -0.8

Electricity (3)

Jump to page with historical data
172.946 169.304 167.420 -4.3 -3.2 -1.1

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

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130.633 123.411 123.836 -6.1 -5.2 0.3

Household furnishings and operations

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89.369   89.772 0.0 0.5  
 

Apparel (1)

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101.091   97.189 0.0 -3.9  
 

Transportation (1)

Jump to page with historical data
142.206   146.550 -8.3 3.1  

Private transportation

Jump to page with historical data
139.711   142.213 -9.5 1.8  

Motor fuel

Jump to page with historical data
208.216 207.046 224.802 -27.4 8.0 8.6

Gasoline (all types)

Jump to page with historical data
207.696 206.573 224.447 -27.4 8.1 8.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

Jump to page with historical data
207.610 206.512 225.339 -28.1 8.5 9.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)

Jump to page with historical data
214.153 213.692 228.866 -25.4 6.9 7.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

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219.348 218.448 233.323 -24.7 6.4 6.8
 

Medical care (1)

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176.951   180.135 5.3 1.8  
 

Recreation

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118.589   119.188 1.4 0.5  
 

Education and communication

Jump to page with historical data
147.572   148.198 2.1 0.4  
 

Other goods and services (1)

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176.768   178.352 -0.8 0.9  
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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126.714   127.808 -3.6 0.9  

Commodities less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
111.332   112.658 -6.7 1.2  

Nondurables less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
139.762   141.842 -9.5 1.5  

Durables

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80.834   81.423 -2.1 0.7  

Services

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173.948   174.701 2.7 0.4  
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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143.535   144.564 -1.1 0.7  

All items less medical care (1)

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153.603   154.346 0.1 0.5  

Commodities less food

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112.491   113.812 -6.2 1.2  

Nondurables

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146.836   148.161 -4.0 0.9  

Nondurables less food

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139.521   141.524 -8.5 1.4  

Services less rent of shelter

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170.159   171.082 2.0 0.5  

Services less medical care services

Jump to page with historical data
173.677   174.143 2.3 0.3  

Energy (1)

Jump to page with historical data
188.531 185.204 191.973 -17.8 1.8 3.7

All items less energy

Jump to page with historical data
151.622   152.368 2.0 0.5  

All items less food and energy (1)

Jump to page with historical data
151.879   152.656 2.2 0.5  

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a November 1996=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a November 1997=100 base.
(3) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
(4) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences, and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(5) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: Thursday, June 18, 2015