Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Prices in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased 0.5 percent for the 2 months ending in August 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted the rise was due to the energy index which tracked its largest increase since the year began, up 4.8 percent, led by higher prices for gasoline. The all items less food and energy index advanced 0.1 percent and the food index was up 0.4 percent. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, bi-monthly changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.) (See table A.)
Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U rose 3.1 percent, mostly due to a 3.1-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. The food index increased 4.2 percent, the smallest increase in over a year and a half, and the energy index increased 2.4 percent after declining 11.9 percent over the year in June. (See chart 1 and table 1.)Food
Food prices increased 0.4 percent for the 2 months ending in August 2023. The food at home index mostly contributed to the rise, up 0.6 percent due to higher prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs (1.6 percent, the largest increase since the year began), other food at home (0.7 percent), and nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials (1.5 percent). Fruits and vegetables prices were up 0.2 percent and food away from home prices advanced 0.1 percent. Offsetting the increases were cereals and bakery products prices, down 1.0 percent, and prices for dairy and related products, down 0.6 percent.
Over the year, the food index rose 4.2 percent as prices for food away from home were up 6.9 percent. The food at home index increased 2.7 percent led by higher prices for other food at home (8.6 percent). Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials advanced 8.8 percent. Prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 0.1 percent—the smallest over-the-year increase since the series began in 2018. The dairy and related products index rose 0.7 percent, well below February’s 10.1-percent rise; price increases have been decelerating since October 2022. Increases were tempered by a 1.1-percent decrease in fruits and vegetables prices and declining prices for cereals and bakery products (-1.4 percent).Energy
In August, the energy index increased 4.8 percent, the largest increase since the year began. The rise was mainly due to advancing gasoline prices, up 9.4 percent — also the largest price increase of the year so far. The utility (piped) gas service index rose 5.2 percent after three consecutive bi-monthly declines this year. The electricity index was up 0.1 percent—the smallest 2-month price increase since December 2020.
From August 2022 to August 2023 the energy index gained 2.4 percent over the year. The increase was largely due to rising prices for electricity, up 17.7 percent – in line with a virtually unbroken string of double-digit 12-month increases from the end of 2021 through August. Offsetting the overall index was the gasoline index, down 2.9 percent, and the utility (piped) gas service index, down 29.4 percent—the largest over-the-year decline since 2009.All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in the latest 2-month period due in large part to higher prices for shelter (up 0.8 percent), household furnishings and operations (up 1.7 percent), and education and communication (up 1.1 percent). Within shelter, prices increased for the owners' equivalent rent of residences index (up 0.9 percent) and the rent of primary residence index (up 1.3 percent). Lodging away from home prices fell. Within the education and communication index, prices for tuition, other school fees, and childcare increased 2.9 percent —the largest price rise since August 2021 (3.1 percent). Moderating the overall increase were lower prices for medical care (down 3.6 percent— the largest decline since June 2020), used cars and trucks (down 1.9 percent), and public transportation.
Over the year, the all items less food and energy advanced 3.1 percent. Shelter prices were up 4.5 percent largely due to a 4.9-percent rise in the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index and a 5.2 percent increase in rent of primary residence. Lodging away from home prices fell while household furnishings and operation prices increased 4.4 percent in the same period. Other components contributing to the overall increase were higher prices for recreation (3.2 percent), other goods and services (6.3 percent), and new vehicles (2.7 percent). Medical care and prices for used cars and trucks countered the overall increase, down 1.0 percent and 7.0 percent respectively.
The October 2023 Consumer Price Index for the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area is scheduled to be released on November 14, 2023.
The Consumer Price Index for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson 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 93 percent of the total U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. 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 75 urban areas across the country from about 5,000 housing units and approximately 22,000 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; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000. Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cpi/. 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 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD, Core Based Statistical Area includes Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, and Queen Anne’s counties, as well as Baltimore City, in Maryland.
Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.
|Expenditure category||Indexes||Percent change from|
Food and beverages
Food at home
Cereals and bakery products
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Dairy and related products
Fruits and vegetables
Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)
Other food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence
Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)
Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles(3)
Used cars and trucks(1)
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)
Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)
Education and communication(3)
Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)
Other goods and services
Commodity and service group
Commodities less food and beverages
Nondurables less food and beverages
Special aggregate indexes
All items less shelter
All items less medical care
Commodities less food
Nondurables less food
Services less rent of shelter(2)
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy
Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2023