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Friday, April 13, 2012

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – March 2012

Area Prices Up 1.3 Percent Since January; 2.8 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area rose 1.3 percent from January to March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the two-month rise reflected increases in the indexes for all items less food and energy (0.9 percent) and energy (6.6 percent). The food index was nearly unchanged since January, inching up 0.1 percent. Higher prices for apparel led the increase in the all items less food and energy group 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 2.8 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Prices advanced for all items less food and energy (2.7 percent), food (2.7 percent), and energy (3.3 percent) since March 2011. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Washington-Baltimore, March 2009 to March 2012 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

The food index inched up 0.1 percent from January to March, due mainly to higher prices for food away from home (0.2 percent). The food at home component was unchanged over the last two months, as higher prices for items including ham were offset by lower prices for others such as cheese and related products.

Over the year, the food index rose 2.7 percent. The recent increase reflected higher prices for food at home (2.8 percent) and for food away from home (2.7 percent) since last March.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, advanced 6.6 percent since January, due almost entirely to a 13.0-percent jump in gasoline prices. Electricity prices were also higher over the last two months, up 0.5 percent. Moderating the rise in the energy index were lower prices for utility (piped) gas, which dropped 8.9 percent since January.

Energy prices increased 3.3 percent since March 2011, due to an 8.9-percent advance in gasoline prices. Prices for both electricity and utility (piped) gas service declined over the year, down 3.4 and 7.2 percent, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent from January to March, reflecting a seasonal advance in apparel prices (8.4 percent). Also contributing to the overall advance were bimonthly price increases for shelter and medical care, up 0.7 and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Over the last 12 months, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.7 percent. The advance was led by higher shelter prices, up 2.7 percent since March 2011. Higher prices for medical care (4.5 percent) and apparel (6.2 percent) also contributed to the rise in the all items less food and energy index over the year.

The May 2012 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on June 14, 2012, 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 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
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

0.5 2.9 0.8 4.9 -0.7 1.0 0.3 2.6 1.0 2.3 0.4 2.7

March

1.5 4.1 1.3 4.7 0.7 0.4 0.4 2.3 1.2 3.0 1.3 2.8

May

0.8 3.2 1.1 5.0 0.5 -0.2 0.2 1.9 1.0 3.9    

July

1.1 2.9 1.7 5.7 1.1 -0.9 0.0 0.8 0.1 4.1    

September

0.2 3.4 0.0 5.5 0.1 -0.8 0.5 1.3 -0.1 3.4    

November

0.4 4.5 -2.5 2.5 -0.2 1.6 0.1 1.6 -0.1 3.3    

 

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 87 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 32 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; TDD message referral phone number:  1-800-877-8339.

For personal assistance or further information on Consumer Price Indexes, as well as other Bureau products, contact the Mid-Atlantic Information Office at (215) 597-3282 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.


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-
Jan. 2012 Feb. 2012 Mar. 2012 Mar. 2011 Jan. 2012 Feb. 2012

All items (1)

148.163 - 150.074 2.8 1.3 -

Food and beverages (1)

147.872 - 148.051 2.7 0.1 -

Food (1)

149.583 - 149.696 2.7 0.1 -

Food at home

145.286 145.686 145.300 2.8 0.0 -0.3

Food away from home (2)

152.073 - 152.324 2.7 0.2 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

125.037 - 125.997 3.1 0.8 -

Housing (1)

156.488 - 157.095 1.9 0.4 -

Shelter

164.367 165.058 165.535 2.7 0.7 0.3

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

180.902 181.404 181.993 3.6 0.6 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

164.455 164.972 165.427 2.4 0.6 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

164.446 164.962 165.415 2.4 0.6 0.3

Fuels and utilities

177.029 - 174.704 -2.2 -1.3 -

Household energy

173.765 173.638 171.070 -3.9 -1.6 -1.5

Energy services (3)

164.167 163.885 161.355 -4.5 -1.7 -1.5

Electricity (3)

167.754 168.811 168.514 -3.4 0.5 -0.2

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

134.341 130.557 122.441 -7.2 -8.9 -6.2

Household furnishings and operations

93.831 - 93.258 -1.0 -0.6 -

Apparel (1)

95.280 - 103.281 6.2 8.4 -

Transportation (1)

148.342 - 154.154 4.6 3.9 -

Private transportation

148.268 - 154.078 4.9 3.9 -

Motor fuel

283.177 299.550 319.539 8.9 12.8 6.7

Gasoline (all types)

282.560 299.148 319.364 8.9 13.0 6.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

287.826 305.319 326.394 9.1 13.4 6.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

278.227 293.748 312.451 8.4 12.3 6.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

277.923 292.156 311.059 8.5 11.9 6.5

Medical care (1)

158.094 - 160.779 4.5 1.7 -

Recreation

114.540 - 115.491 -0.2 0.8 -

Education and communication

140.745 - 140.261 2.3 -0.3 -

Other goods and services (1)

172.465 - 174.324 3.5 1.1 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

129.001 - 132.382 3.2 2.6 -

Commodities less food and beverages

118.350 - 123.292 3.4 4.2 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

149.739 - 160.476 5.4 7.2 -

Durables

84.965 - 84.300 0.0 -0.8 -

Services

160.756 - 161.619 2.5 0.5 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care (1)

147.549 - 149.412 2.6 1.3 -

All items less shelter

139.954 - 142.208 2.8 1.6 -

Commodities less food

118.737 - 123.535 3.4 4.0 -

Nondurables

148.078 - 153.483 4.1 3.7 -

Nondurables less food

147.692 - 157.697 5.3 6.8 -

Services less rent of shelter

157.520 - 158.019 2.3 0.3 -

Services less medical care services

161.066 - 161.764 2.4 0.4 -

Energy (1)

219.843 226.936 234.265 3.3 6.6 3.2

All items less energy

142.735 - 143.897 2.7 0.8 -

All items less food and energy (1)

142.550 - 143.884 2.7 0.9 -

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: April 13, 2012