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Friday, April 17, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – March 2015

Area prices up 1.0 percent since January and 0.2 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Washington-Baltimore increased 1.0 percent over the last two months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted the rise was the largest two-month increase in more than two years. The recent advance was led by a 1.2-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index also rose since January, up 3.1 percent, while the food index declined 0.7 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 edged up 0.2 percent, due almost entirely to a 1.9-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since March 2014, the food index rose 1.8 percent, while the energy index dropped 18.8 percent. (See table 1.).

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

Food

After increasing 0.4 percent in January, the food index declined 0.7 percent over the last two months, as food at home prices decreased 1.4 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for various items including canned fruits and vegetables, lettuce, and pork chops. Food away from home prices edged up 0.1 percent since January.

Food prices rose 1.8 percent over the year, as prices for both components also increased. Prices for food away from home advanced 2.9 percent and those for food at home increased 0.7 percent since last March.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 3.1 percent since January, led by a 7.8-percent advance in gasoline prices. Utility (piped) gas service prices were also higher over the last two months, up 2.7 percent, while electricity prices declined, down 1.6 percent.

Energy prices dropped 18.8 percent over the year, due largely to lower gasoline prices, down 29.9 percent. Utility (piped) gas service and electricity prices also declined since March 2014, down 13.4 and 2.0 percent, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.2 percent since January. The advance was due mostly to a seasonal rise in apparel prices, up 12.2 percent—the index’s largest bimonthly advance since September 2007. Also contributing to the overall increase were higher prices for shelter (0.6 percent) and medical care (2.9 percent). Moderating the rise in the all items less food and energy index were lower prices for other goods and services and recreation, down 0.5 and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Since March 2014, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.9 percent. The advance was due largely to an over-the-year increase in shelter prices (2.8 percent), as the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index was up 3.2 percent. Lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-1.4 percent) moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index since last March.

 

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    

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 May 2015 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, June 18, 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
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015
Mar.
2014
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015

All items (1)

Jump to page with historical data
153.376   154.984 0.2 1.0  
 

Food and beverages (1)

Jump to page with historical data
155.668   154.709 1.7 -0.6  

Food (1)

Jump to page with historical data
157.109   156.010 1.8 -0.7  

Food at home

Jump to page with historical data
149.405 150.531 147.292 0.7 -1.4 -2.2

Food away from home (2)

Jump to page with historical data
164.187   164.398 2.9 0.1  

Alcoholic beverages (2)

Jump to page with historical data
135.694   136.199 1.4 0.4  
 

Housing (1)

Jump to page with historical data
166.015   166.786 1.8 0.5  

Shelter

Jump to page with historical data
176.982 177.416 178.005 2.8 0.6 0.3

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

Jump to page with historical data
196.177 197.004 197.785 3.1 0.8 0.4

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

Jump to page with historical data
177.242 177.620 178.172 3.2 0.5 0.3

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

Jump to page with historical data
177.235 177.628 178.173 3.3 0.5 0.3

Fuels and utilities

Jump to page with historical data
183.890   183.031 -3.6 -0.5  

Household energy

Jump to page with historical data
175.654 175.863 174.635 -5.7 -0.6 -0.7

Gas (piped) and electricity (3)

Jump to page with historical data
168.177 168.091 167.108 -4.9 -0.6 -0.6

Electricity (3)

Jump to page with historical data
175.746 177.763 172.946 -2.0 -1.6 -2.7

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

Jump to page with historical data
127.168 121.756 130.633 -13.4 2.7 7.3

Household furnishings and operations

Jump to page with historical data
88.993   89.369 -1.4 0.4  
 

Apparel (1)

Jump to page with historical data
90.108   101.091 4.0 12.2  
 

Transportation (1)

Jump to page with historical data
138.558   142.206 -9.0 2.6  

Private transportation

Jump to page with historical data
135.993   139.711 -9.4 2.7  

Motor fuel

Jump to page with historical data
193.346 191.850 208.216 -29.8 7.7 8.5

Gasoline (all types)

Jump to page with historical data
192.738 191.275 207.696 -29.9 7.8 8.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

Jump to page with historical data
192.012 190.559 207.610 -30.7 8.1 8.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)

Jump to page with historical data
201.234 199.125 214.153 -27.5 6.4 7.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

Jump to page with historical data
206.960 204.498 219.348 -26.3 6.0 7.3
 

Medical care (1)

Jump to page with historical data
171.895   176.951 2.8 2.9  
 

Recreation

Jump to page with historical data
118.808   118.589 1.3 -0.2  
 

Education and communication

Jump to page with historical data
147.470   147.572 2.5 0.1  
 

Other goods and services (1)

Jump to page with historical data
177.710   176.768 -0.4 -0.5  
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

Jump to page with historical data
124.852   126.714 -3.4 1.5  

Commodities less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
107.996   111.332 -6.8 3.1  

Nondurables less food and beverages

Jump to page with historical data
132.951   139.762 -9.0 5.1  

Durables

Jump to page with historical data
80.782   80.834 -3.1 0.1  

Services

Jump to page with historical data
172.529   173.948 2.2 0.8  
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

Jump to page with historical data
141.658   143.535 -1.2 1.3  

All items less medical care (1)

Jump to page with historical data
152.228   153.603 0.1 0.9  

Commodities less food

Jump to page with historical data
109.280   112.491 -6.4 2.9  

Nondurables

Jump to page with historical data
144.077   146.836 -3.5 1.9  

Nondurables less food

Jump to page with historical data
133.261   139.521 -8.2 4.7  

Services less rent of shelter

Jump to page with historical data
168.277   170.159 1.5 1.1  

Services less medical care services

Jump to page with historical data
172.721   173.677 2.2 0.6  

Energy (1)

Jump to page with historical data
182.812 182.298 188.531 -18.8 3.1 3.4

All items less energy

Jump to page with historical data
150.258   151.622 1.9 0.9  

All items less food and energy (1)

Jump to page with historical data
150.113   151.879 1.9 1.2  

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: Friday, April 17, 2015