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Friday, December 14, 2012

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – November 2012

Area Prices Down 0.7 Percent Since September; Up 2.1 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area fell 0.7 percent from September to November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the two-month decline was the largest recorded since January 2009. The recent decrease primarily reflected a decline in the energy index, down 7.7 percent. The index for all items less food and energy inched down 0.1 percent, while the food index rose 0.4 percent. Lower prices for lodging away from home and apparel led the decrease 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 2.1 percent due largely to a 2.3-percent advance in prices for all items less food and energy. (See chart 1 and table A.) Higher prices for food (1.6 percent) and energy (0.6 percent) also contributed to the overall rise since November 2011. (See table 1.)

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

Food

The food index rose 0.4 percent over the last two months as prices for its two components—food at home and food away from home—also recorded 0.4-percent increases. Within the food at home component, higher prices for chicken and milk, among other items, were moderated by lower prices for various items including snacks and citrus fruits.

Since last November, the food index rose 1.6 percent, led by higher prices for food away from home, up 3.6 percent. The food at home index was also higher than a year ago, edging up 0.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, fell 7.7 percent since September—the largest decrease since January 2009—due mostly to a 9.2-percent drop in gasoline prices. Also contributing to lower energy prices was an 8.4-percent seasonal decrease in electricity prices over the last two months. Prices for utility (piped) gas service rose 3.4 percent from September to November.

Energy prices rose 0.6 percent over the year due to a 3.0-percent price increase for the gasoline component. Moderating the over-the-year advance in the energy index were declines in prices for electricity (-1.4 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (-3.9 percent).

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy inched down 0.1 percent since September—the first two-month decrease in three years. Lower prices for lodging away from home contributed to the decline, as did a 4.0-percent seasonal decrease in apparel prices. Higher prices for several components helped to moderate the decrease in the all items less food and energy index, including those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.5 percent).

Since last November, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent. The advance was due in part to higher shelter prices, particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 3.4 and 3.2 percent, respectively, over the year.

The January 2013 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on February 21, 2013, 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 -0.7 2.1

 

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-
Sep. 2012 Oct. 2012 Nov. 2012 Nov. 2011 Sep. 2012 Oct. 2012

All items (1)

151.732 - 150.646 2.1 -0.7 -

Food and beverages (1)

148.877 - 149.468 1.7 0.4 -

Food (1)

150.671 - 151.278 1.6 0.4 -

Food at home

144.514 145.388 145.149 0.2 0.4 -0.2

Food away from home (2)

155.817 - 156.367 3.6 0.4 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

125.038 - 125.443 1.9 0.3 -

Housing (1)

160.003 - 159.445 2.7 -0.3 -

Shelter

168.468 168.636 168.598 3.4 0.1 0.0

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

186.463 187.625 187.978 4.5 0.8 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

168.062 168.465 168.875 3.2 0.5 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

168.050 168.453 168.864 3.2 0.5 0.2

Fuels and utilities

181.650 - 173.413 -0.7 -4.5 -

Household energy

176.987 169.222 167.053 -2.2 -5.6 -1.3

Energy services (3)

168.227 160.262 158.077 -2.1 -6.0 -1.4

Electricity (3)

178.649 168.855 163.597 -1.4 -8.4 -3.1

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

119.837 117.692 123.897 -3.9 3.4 5.3

Household furnishings and operations

93.506 - 93.953 0.5 0.5 -

Apparel (1)

103.602 - 99.505 -0.6 -4.0 -

Transportation (1)

154.732 - 150.402 1.5 -2.8 -

Private transportation

154.602 - 149.930 1.4 -3.0 -

Motor fuel

320.269 310.240 291.111 3.0 -9.1 -6.2

Gasoline (all types)

320.238 310.017 290.652 3.0 -9.2 -6.2

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

326.272 315.326 295.121 2.8 -9.5 -6.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

315.076 306.240 287.746 3.4 -8.7 -6.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

314.712 306.328 289.359 3.7 -8.1 -5.5

Medical care (1)

162.260 - 163.847 4.7 1.0 -

Recreation

114.834 - 114.605 1.5 -0.2 -

Education and communication

143.183 - 141.491 0.8 -1.2 -

Other goods and services (1)

173.047 - 174.636 0.7 0.9 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

132.277 - 130.127 0.6 -1.6 -

Commodities less food and beverages

122.725 - 119.232 0.0 -2.8 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

160.051 - 153.240 1.1 -4.3 -

Durables

83.618 - 83.356 -1.8 -0.3 -

Services

164.508 - 164.179 2.9 -0.2 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care (1)

151.081 - 149.830 1.9 -0.8 -

All items less shelter

143.258 - 141.602 1.4 -1.2 -

Commodities less food

122.953 - 119.602 0.1 -2.7 -

Nondurables

153.686 - 150.609 1.4 -2.0 -

Nondurables less food

157.234 - 150.962 1.2 -4.0 -

Services less rent of shelter

160.862 - 159.987 2.3 -0.5 -

Services less medical care services

164.776 - 164.220 2.7 -0.3 -

Energy (1)

237.851 229.176 219.608 0.6 -7.7 -4.2

All items less energy

145.428 - 145.357 2.2 0.0 -

All items less food and energy (1)

145.511 - 145.333 2.3 -0.1 -

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: December 20, 2012