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21-65-PHI
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

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Consumer Price Index, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson – December 2020

Area prices increased 0.2 percent since October; up 1.4 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson edged up 0.2 percent from October to December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Acting Regional Commissioner Frank Waligorski noted that the recent bi-monthly increase was mostly due to a rise in the all items less food and energy index, up 0.4 percent. The energy index also rose since October, up 2.2 percent, while the food index declined 1.3 percent. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U increased 1.4 percent. The over-the-year rise was due to increases in the all items less food and energy index (1.5 percent) and the food index (2.5 percent). (See chart 1.) The energy index dropped over the year, down 2.2 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index decreased from October to December, down 1.3 percent. Prices declined for food at home, down 3.1 percent since October, while prices rose for food away from home, up 0.6 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for uncooked beef steaks, while prices were higher for canned fruits and vegetables, among other food categories.

Over the year, the food index increased 2.5 percent. Prices rose for both food away from home (2.7 percent) and for food at home (2.2 percent).

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 2.2 percent since October, led by higher prices for gasoline (2.5 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (8.7 percent). Electricity prices also increased over the last two months, inching up 0.1 percent.

Over the year, the energy index decreased 2.2 percent. Prices were lower for gasoline, down 6.0 percent. Prices also decreased for electricity (-0.2 percent), while they increased for utility (piped) gas service (16.3 percent) since December 2019.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent from October to December. Higher prices for new vehicles (4.4 percent), apparel (8.5 percent), and other goods and services (2.8 percent) among others, led the bimonthly increase in the all items less food and energy index.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.5 percent since December 2019, led by higher prices for shelter (1.8 percent). Prices were also higher for education and communication (2.7 percent) and other goods and services (8.1 percent), while prices were lower for recreation (-1.9 percent) over the year.

The Consumer Price Index for February 2021 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 8:30 am (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on December 2020 Consumer Price Index Data

Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in December was affected by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the number of prices considered temporarily unavailable and imputed.

While the CPI program attempted to collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month. Additional information is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.htm.


Technical Note

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 population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 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 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 (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/pdf/homch17.pdf.

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, Baltimore City, Carroll, Harford, Howard, and Queen Anne’s Counties in Maryland.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Oct.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020
Dec.
2019
Oct.
2020
Nov.
2020

All items

260.892   261.535 1.4 0.2  

Food and beverages

275.192   271.703 2.7 -1.3  

Food

274.166   270.572 2.5 -1.3  

Food at home

246.575 243.323 238.904 2.2 -3.1 -1.8

Cereals and bakery products

299.277   290.919 2.8 -2.8  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

241.380   233.468 1.5 -3.3  

Dairy and related products

243.292   237.810 -1.1 -2.3  

Fruits and vegetables

293.128   290.371 3.1 -0.9  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

184.636   177.425 4.0 -3.9  

Other food at home

226.076   215.183 2.7 -4.8  

Food away from home

315.051   316.905 2.7 0.6  

Alcoholic beverages

287.384   285.521 6.6 -0.6  

Housing(1)

265.397   265.303 1.7 0.0  

Shelter

316.324 314.970 314.960 1.8 -0.4 0.0

Rent of primary residence

372.278 367.550 366.082 0.1 -1.7 -0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

334.954 333.635 333.963 2.5 -0.3 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

334.954 333.635 333.963 2.5 -0.3 0.1

Fuels and utilities

221.130   224.587 1.9 1.6  

Household energy

190.942 192.390 194.215 1.6 1.7 0.9

Energy services

205.795 207.360 208.849 2.3 1.5 0.7

Electricity

191.320 191.540 191.540 -0.2 0.1 0.0

Utility (piped) gas service

191.042 198.963 207.603 16.3 8.7 4.3

Household furnishings and operations

119.282   121.945 0.4 2.2  

Apparel

111.620   121.090 -1.9 8.5  

Transportation

198.059   199.956 -0.9 1.0  

Private transportation

199.406   202.693 0.6 1.6  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

98.967   100.980 3.5 2.0  

New vehicles(1)

191.475   199.934 0.9 4.4  

Used cars and trucks(1)

267.852   261.673 10.1 -2.3  

Motor fuel

197.717 194.483 203.092 -6.0 2.7 4.4

Gasoline (all types)

193.653 190.419 198.577 -6.0 2.5 4.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

194.374 190.873 199.167 -6.5 2.5 4.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

222.530 219.959 232.048 1.1 4.3 5.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

209.538 208.180 215.492 -3.6 2.8 3.5

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

844.112   747.828 -17.7 -11.4  

Medical care

479.216   479.745 2.2 0.1  

Recreation

128.501   128.590 -1.9 0.1  

Education and communication(3)

154.284   154.875 2.7 0.4  

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)

1,268.771   1,268.203 2.3 0.0  

Other goods and services

435.643   447.627 8.1 2.8  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

184.435   185.994 1.6 0.8  

Commodities less food and beverages

144.182   147.392 0.8 2.2  

Nondurables less food and beverages

183.173   187.019 -1.4 2.1  

Durables

102.177   104.565 2.8 2.3  

Services

335.442   335.178 1.4 -0.1  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

239.983   241.492 1.2 0.6  

All items less medical care

249.974   250.624 1.4 0.3  

Commodities less food

148.292   151.421 1.1 2.1  

Nondurables

225.964   226.264 0.9 0.1  

Nondurables less food

188.957   192.490 -0.8 1.9  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

369.578   370.904 0.8 0.4  

Services less medical care services

321.228   321.029 1.2 -0.1  

Energy(1)

198.677 197.887 203.047 -2.2 2.2 2.6

All items less energy

267.611   267.956 1.7 0.1  

All items less food and energy

266.471   267.429 1.5 0.4  

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a March 1978=100 base.
(2) Indexes on a November 1982=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2021