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14-1986-PHI
October 22, 2014

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore–September 2014

Area Prices Up 0.2 Percent Since July; Up 1.3 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area edged up 0.2 percent from July to September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that a 0.6-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index was partially offset by a 3.9-percent decrease in the energy index. The food index was unchanged over the last two months. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, two-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U rose 1.3 percent, due mostly to a 1.7-percent advance in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) The food index also increased since September 2013, up 1.6 percent, while the energy index decreased 2.9 percent. (See table 1.)

 Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Washington-Baltimore, September 2011 to September 2014 (not seasonally adjusted)

 

Food

The food index was unchanged over the last two months, as a 0.2-percent increase in the food away from home index was offset by a 0.2-percent decrease in the food at home index.

Food prices rose 1.6 percent over the year, as prices for both components also increased. Food away from home prices advanced 2.5 percent and food at home prices increased 0.9 percent since last September.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 3.9 percent since July, led by a 7.9-percent drop in gasoline prices. Utility (piped) gas service prices also decreased since July, falling 8.0 percent. Moderating the overall decline in the energy index were higher electricity prices, up 4.0 percent over the last two months.

Energy prices decreased 2.9 percent over the year, due in large part to lower gasoline prices, down 3.6 percent. The electricity index also decreased since September 2013, down 3.0 percent, while the utility (piped) gas service index rose 0.8 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.6 percent since July, due in large part to a 10.3-percent seasonal increase in apparel prices—the largest two-month increase in seven years. Higher prices for shelter (0.6 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.9 percent), also contributed to the recent advance. Moderating the overall rise in the all items less food and energy index were lower prices for lodging away from home. Prices for recreation and other goods and services were also lower over the last two months, down 0.5 and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Since September 2013, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent. The advance was due largely to an over-the-year increase in shelter prices (2.7 percent), as the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index was up 2.6 percent. Higher prices for education and communication (3.3 percent), among other major groups, also contributed to the increase. Medical care prices decreased 0.5 percent over the year—the first 12-month decline since March 2007.

 

Table A. Washington-Baltimore CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

-0.7 1.0 0.3 2.6 1.0 2.3 0.4 2.7 0.1 1.8 0.4 1.9

March

0.7 0.4 0.4 2.3 1.2 3.0 1.3 2.8 0.9 1.4 0.6 1.6

May

0.5 -0.2 0.2 1.9 1.0 3.9 0.1 1.8 -0.2 1.2 0.4 2.2

July

1.1 -0.9 0.0 0.8 0.1 4.1 -0.2 1.4 0.5 1.9 0.0 1.7

September

0.1 -0.8 0.5 1.3 -0.1 3.4 1.3 2.8 0.6 1.2 0.2 1.3

November

-0.2 1.6 0.1 1.6 -0.1 3.3 -0.7 2.1 -0.2 1.7    

The November 2014 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on December 17, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).


Technical Note

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 88 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 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 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 (CMSA) 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:  1-800-877-8339.

 

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)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from-
July 2014 Aug. 2014 Sep. 2014 Sep. 2013 July 2014 Aug. 2014

All items (1)

155.220 - 155.522 1.3 0.2 -

Food and beverages (1)

153.595 - 153.457 1.5 -0.1 -

Food (1)

155.027 - 154.997 1.6 0.0 -

Food at home

147.907 148.572 147.557 0.9 -0.2 -0.7

Food away from home (2)

161.400 - 161.777 2.5 0.2 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

133.774 - 132.529 0.7 -0.9 -

Housing (1)

164.235 - 165.115 1.9 0.5 -

Shelter

174.014 174.377 175.088 2.7 0.6 0.4

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

192.252 192.601 193.916 2.0 0.9 0.7

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

173.803 174.255 175.441 2.6 0.9 0.7

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

173.807 174.260 175.461 2.6 1.0 0.7

Fuels and utilities

186.692 - 188.396 -0.9 0.9 -

Household energy

179.315 177.996 181.300 -2.2 1.1 1.9

Energy services (3)

170.306 168.979 172.523 -2.4 1.3 2.1

Electricity (3)

177.616 180.575 184.693 -3.0 4.0 2.3

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

129.679 117.642 119.273 0.8 -8.0 1.4

Household furnishings and operations

90.427 - 89.925 -1.9 -0.6 -

Apparel (1)

93.235 - 102.863 3.4 10.3 -

Transportation (1)

157.935 - 153.435 -1.0 -2.8 -

Private transportation

156.999 - 152.413 -0.3 -2.9 -

Motor fuel

308.719 292.783 284.576 -3.5 -7.8 -2.8

Gasoline (all types)

308.315 292.308 284.091 -3.6 -7.9 -2.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

311.983 295.332 286.939 -3.8 -8.0 -2.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

308.144 293.973 284.977 -2.9 -7.5 -3.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

310.390 296.136 289.101 -2.1 -6.9 -2.4

Medical care (1)

170.817 - 171.079 -0.5 0.2 -

Recreation

117.566 - 116.923 0.2 -0.5 -

Education and communication

146.229 - 148.442 3.3 1.5 -

Other goods and services (1)

181.170 - 179.638 1.9 -0.8 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

131.932 - 131.717 0.2 -0.2 -

Commodities less food and beverages

119.850 - 119.596 -0.6 -0.2 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

154.981 - 154.279 -0.4 -0.5 -

Durables

82.932 - 83.093 -0.9 0.2 -

Services

170.675 - 171.339 1.9 0.4 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care (1)

154.272 - 154.576 1.4 0.2 -

All items less shelter

145.761 - 145.698 0.5 0.0 -

Commodities less food

120.523 - 120.225 -0.5 -0.2 -

Nondurables

153.533 - 153.126 0.6 -0.3 -

Nondurables less food

153.197 - 152.447 -0.3 -0.5 -

Services less rent of shelter

167.766 - 167.940 0.8 0.1 -

Services less medical care services

170.746 - 171.478 2.1 0.4 -

Energy (1)

233.826 226.313 224.730 -2.9 -3.9 -0.7

All items less energy

149.350 - 150.171 1.7 0.5 -

All items less food and energy (1)

149.386 - 150.349 1.7 0.6 -

Footnotes
(1) For Washington-Baltimore, indexes on a November 1996=100 base.
(2) For Washington-Baltimore, 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) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
- Data not available.
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2014