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14-1171-PHI

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – May 2014

Area Prices Up 0.4 Percent Since March and 2.2 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area rose 0.4 percent from March to May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the two-month advance was due almost entirely to a 1.3-percent increase in the food index and a 0.2-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index was also higher since March, up 0.7 percent. (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 2.2 percent, due mostly to a 2.0-percent advance in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) Both the energy and food indexes increased since May 2013, up 3.7 and 2.2 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

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

Food

The food index increased 1.3 percent over the last two months, following a 1.0-percent decrease from January to March. Higher prices for beef and veal and citrus fruits, among other items, contributed to the 1.7-percent increase in the food at home index. The food away from home index also rose since March, up 0.9 percent.

Food prices rose 2.2 percent over the year. Prices for food at home advanced 2.1 percent and those for food away from home were up 2.3 percent since last May.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 0.7 percent since March, due to a 4.4-percent increase in gasoline prices. Moderating the advance in the energy index over the last two months were lower prices for utility (piped) gas service, which fell 12.5 percent. Electricity prices also declined since March, down 0.8 percent.

Energy prices increased 3.7 percent over the year, due to higher gasoline (3.4 percent) and electricity (5.9 percent) prices. Lower utility (piped) gas service prices (-2.7 percent) moderated the overall rise in the energy index since May 2013.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.2 percent since March, led by higher prices for education and communication (0.9 percent) and other goods and services (1.2 percent). Lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-1.0 percent) and medical care (-0.5 percent) partially offset the overall rise in the all items less food and energy index.  

Since May 2013, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.0 percent. The advance was due largely to an over-the-year increase in shelter prices (1.9 percent), as the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index was up 1.6 percent. Higher prices for medical care (3.3 percent), among other major groups, also contributed to the increase, while prices for household furnishings and operations declined 3.0 percent over the last 12 months.

The July 2014 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on August 19, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

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    

September

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

November

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

 

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-
Mar. 2014 Apr. 2014 May 2014 May 2013 Mar. 2014 Apr. 2014

All items (1)

154.600 - 155.198 2.2 0.4 -

Food and beverages (1)

152.082 - 153.740 2.2 1.1 -

Food (1)

153.313 - 155.290 2.2 1.3 -

Food at home

146.204 147.123 148.619 2.1 1.7 1.0

Food away from home (2)

159.700 - 161.084 2.3 0.9 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

134.376 - 132.714 1.8 -1.2 -

Housing (1)

163.907 - 163.189 1.6 -0.4 -

Shelter

173.166 172.965 173.050 1.9 -0.1 0.0

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

191.892 191.035 191.126 1.6 -0.4 0.0

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

172.564 172.393 172.490 1.6 0.0 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

172.559 172.390 172.491 1.7 0.0 0.1

Fuels and utilities

189.916 - 184.297 4.0 -3.0 -

Household energy

185.217 181.234 178.336 4.1 -3.7 -1.6

Energy services (3)

175.636 171.832 169.018 3.9 -3.8 -1.6

Electricity (3)

176.437 175.980 174.998 5.9 -0.8 -0.6

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

150.844 139.035 131.936 -2.7 -12.5 -5.1

Household furnishings and operations

90.673 - 89.811 -3.0 -1.0 -

Apparel (1)

97.216 - 97.231 2.1 0.0 -

Transportation (1)

156.289 - 159.841 3.8 2.3 -

Private transportation

154.173 - 157.167 3.0 1.9 -

Motor fuel

296.658 308.277 309.591 3.6 4.4 0.4

Gasoline (all types)

296.081 307.816 309.187 3.4 4.4 0.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

299.681 312.214 313.419 3.5 4.6 0.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

295.292 304.951 306.815 3.5 3.9 0.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

297.766 308.057 309.915 3.4 4.1 0.6

Medical care (1)

172.052 - 171.139 3.3 -0.5 -

Recreation

117.098 - 117.553 0.9 0.4 -

Education and communication

143.924 - 145.192 2.3 0.9 -

Other goods and services (1)

177.534 - 179.729 1.9 1.2 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

131.169 - 132.599 1.3 1.1 -

Commodities less food and beverages

119.486 - 120.788 0.8 1.1 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

153.649 - 156.667 1.9 2.0 -

Durables

83.457 - 83.154 -1.1 -0.4 -

Services

170.160 - 170.168 2.6 0.0 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care (1)

153.526 - 154.227 2.1 0.5 -

All items less shelter

145.251 - 146.184 2.3 0.6 -

Commodities less food

120.202 - 121.373 0.8 1.0 -

Nondurables

152.113 - 154.414 2.0 1.5 -

Nondurables less food

152.034 - 154.643 1.9 1.7 -

Services less rent of shelter

167.650 - 167.807 3.6 0.1 -

Services less medical care services

170.000 - 170.149 2.6 0.1 -

Energy (1)

232.101 234.740 233.634 3.7 0.7 -0.5

All items less energy

148.797 - 149.338 2.0 0.4 -

All items less food and energy (1)

149.016 - 149.330 2.0 0.2 -

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: June 17, 2014