News Release Information

12-2097-PHI

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:

Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – September 2012

Area Prices Up 1.3 Percent Since July and 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 July to September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the overall two-month advance reflected increases in the indexes for all items less food and energy (0.9 percent), energy (5.0 percent) and food (0.9 percent). Higher prices for apparel and shelter led the rise 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; higher prices for all items less food and energy, also up 2.8 percent, led the advance. (See chart 1 and table A.) Higher prices for energy (3.4 percent) and food (1.8 percent) contributed to the overall rise since September 2011 as well. (See table 1.)

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

Food

After edging down 0.3 percent from May to July, the food index rose 0.9 percent over the last two months. Prices for the food at home component increased 0.8 percent since July, led by higher prices for bacon, breakfast sausage, and related products as well as fresh fish and seafood. Prices for food away from home were also higher, up 1.0 percent—their seventh consecutive bimonthly advance.

Over the year, the food index rose 1.8 percent. Prices increased for both components of the food index, food away from home (3.7 percent) and food at home (0.4 percent), since last September.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, advanced 5.0 percent since July, reflecting a 10.6-percent jump in gasoline prices. Partially offsetting the higher prices for gasoline were price declines for electricity and utility (piped) gas service, down 1.6 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.

Energy prices rose 3.4 percent over the year due to higher prices for gasoline, up 8.7 percent. Moderating the over-the-year advance in the energy index were declines in prices for electricity (-1.7 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (-6.0 percent).

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent since July. A 10.1-percent seasonal increase in the apparel index—the largest bimonthly increase since September 2007—led the advance in the all items less food and energy group. Also contributing to the two-month advance in this group were higher prices for shelter, particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.8 percent each).

Since last September, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.8 percent. The recent advance was due largely to higher shelter prices, up 3.8 percent—the largest over-the-year increase in nearly four years.

The November 2012 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on December 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 0.1 1.8

July

1.1 2.9 1.7 5.7 1.1 -0.9 0.0 0.8 0.1 4.1 -0.2 1.4

September

0.2 3.4 0.0 5.5 0.1 -0.8 0.5 1.3 -0.1 3.4 1.3 2.8

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.


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 2012 Aug. 2012 Sep. 2012 Sep. 2011 July 2012 Aug. 2012

All items (1)

149.838 - 151.732 2.8 1.3 -

Food and beverages (1)

147.866 - 148.877 1.8 0.7 -

Food (1)

149.341 - 150.671 1.8 0.9 -

Food at home

143.362 145.198 144.514 0.4 0.8 -0.5

Food away from home (2)

154.262 - 155.817 3.7 1.0 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

127.820 - 125.038 1.5 -2.2 -

Housing (1)

159.250 - 160.003 2.9 0.5 -

Shelter

167.129 167.336 168.468 3.8 0.8 0.7

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

184.710 185.358 186.463 4.5 0.9 0.6

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

166.740 167.016 168.062 3.4 0.8 0.6

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

166.728 167.005 168.050 3.4 0.8 0.6

Fuels and utilities

184.171 - 181.650 -1.5 -1.4 -

Household energy

180.749 182.395 176.987 -3.1 -2.1 -3.0

Energy services (3)

171.812 173.348 168.227 -3.1 -2.1 -3.0

Electricity (3)

181.539 179.874 178.649 -1.7 -1.6 -0.7

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

124.814 134.619 119.837 -6.0 -4.0 -11.0

Household furnishings and operations

93.870 - 93.506 0.4 -0.4 -

Apparel (1)

94.107 - 103.602 6.2 10.1 -

Transportation (1)

150.249 - 154.732 2.7 3.0 -

Private transportation

149.893 - 154.602 2.5 3.1 -

Motor fuel

289.705 312.097 320.269 8.7 10.6 2.6

Gasoline (all types)

289.618 312.080 320.238 8.7 10.6 2.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

294.895 318.123 326.272 8.6 10.6 2.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

285.546 306.429 315.076 8.6 10.3 2.8

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

284.955 306.544 314.712 9.0 10.4 2.7

Medical care (1)

161.625 - 162.260 4.4 0.4 -

Recreation

114.044 - 114.834 0.5 0.7 -

Education and communication

141.833 - 143.183 3.0 1.0 -

Other goods and services (1)

173.890 - 173.047 1.2 -0.5 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

129.312 - 132.277 1.9 2.3 -

Commodities less food and beverages

118.817 - 122.725 1.9 3.3 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

150.822 - 160.051 4.8 6.1 -

Durables

84.837 - 83.618 -2.9 -1.4 -

Services

163.380 - 164.508 3.3 0.7 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care (1)

149.109 - 151.081 2.7 1.3 -

All items less shelter

141.109 - 143.258 2.2 1.5 -

Commodities less food

119.291 - 122.953 1.9 3.1 -

Nondurables

148.611 - 153.686 3.3 3.4 -

Nondurables less food

148.898 - 157.234 4.6 5.6 -

Services less rent of shelter

159.976 - 160.862 2.6 0.6 -

Services less medical care services

163.608 - 164.776 3.2 0.7 -

Energy (1)

226.555 237.261 237.851 3.4 5.0 0.2

All items less energy

144.101 - 145.428 2.7 0.9 -

All items less food and energy (1)

144.176 - 145.511 2.8 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: October 17, 2012