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19-1645-PHI
Thursday, September 12, 2019

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Consumer Price Index, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson – August 2019

Area prices increased 0.3 percent since June; up 1.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Baltimore-Columbia-Towson edged up 0.3 percent from June to August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the recent two-month increase was due to a 0.5-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index and food index decreased since June, down 2.0 and 0.2 percent, respectively. (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 1.1 percent. The over-the-year rise was due almost entirely to an increase in the all items less food and energy index (2.0 percent). The food index also rose over the year, up 0.9 percent, while prices for energy decreased, down 8.3 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index edged down 0.2 percent over the last two months. Prices declined for food at home, down 0.4 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for various items including eggs, while prices were higher for items including bread, among others. Prices for food away from home were unchanged over the last two months.

Over the year, the food index increased 0.9 percent. Prices rose for food away from home (3.0 percent) while those for food at home declined (-0.9 percent).

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 2.0 percent since June. Prices were lower for gasoline and electricity over the last two months, down 2.3 and 1.3 percent, respectively. Utility (piped) gas service prices also decreased, down 2.9 percent.

Over the year, the energy index declined 8.3 percent. Prices were lower for gasoline (-9.8 percent) and electricity (-8.4 percent) since June 2018, while those for utility (piped) gas service increased 11.6 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.5 percent from June to August. Higher prices for medical care (7.6 percent), recreation (2.8 percent), and education and communication (1.8 percent) were moderated by lower prices for shelter (-1.8 percent), among others.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 2.0 percent since August 2018, led by higher prices for medical care (8.9 percent) and education and communication (3.6 percent). Prices were also higher for shelter (0.4 percent), but were lower for apparel (-1.5 percent).

The Consumer Price Index for October 2019 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 8:30 am (ET).


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
Jun.
2019
Jul.
2019
Aug.
2019
Aug.
2018
Jun.
2019
Jul.
2019

All items

256.790   257.455 1.1 0.3  

Food and beverages

263.144   262.635 0.9 -0.2  

Food

262.632   261.992 0.9 -0.2  

Food at home

233.001 232.663 232.020 -0.9 -0.4 -0.3

Cereals and bakery products

292.247   290.367 -2.2 -0.6  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

221.891   228.113 0.5 2.8  

Dairy and related products

234.598   234.772 5.2 0.1  

Fruits and vegetables

282.710   275.860 2.2 -2.4  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

173.212   169.434 -4.6 -2.2  

Other food at home

210.144   208.059 -3.9 -1.0  

Food away from home

306.042   305.904 3.0 0.0  

Alcoholic beverages

267.490   268.622 1.4 0.4  

Housing(1)

264.060   260.005 0.0 -1.5  

Shelter

314.310 311.219 308.804 0.4 -1.8 -0.8

Rent of primary residence

361.766 362.132 363.560 1.0 0.5 0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

321.745 322.476 323.488 1.3 0.5 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

321.745 322.476 323.488 1.3 0.5 0.3

Fuels and utilities

217.004   214.808 -5.5 -1.0  

Household energy

189.194 187.191 186.136 -6.6 -1.6 -0.6

Energy services

202.385 200.127 199.366 -6.7 -1.5 -0.4

Electricity

189.160 189.050 186.652 -8.4 -1.3 -1.3

Utility (piped) gas service

186.177 166.963 180.720 11.6 -2.9 8.2

Household furnishings and operations

121.688   121.797 1.2 0.1  

Apparel

118.413   124.256 -1.5 4.9  

Transportation

203.246   202.211 -0.6 -0.5  

Private transportation

199.947   199.938 -1.8 0.0  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

95.766   96.300 -0.5 0.6  

New vehicles(1)

192.810   194.261 -0.8 0.8  

Used cars and trucks(1)

242.883   248.517 2.1 2.3  

Motor fuel

229.006 237.695 223.823 -9.8 -2.3 -5.8

Gasoline (all types)

224.125 232.738 219.032 -9.8 -2.3 -5.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

226.192 235.347 220.814 -10.2 -2.4 -6.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

241.084 246.533 237.014 -7.9 -1.7 -3.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

234.616 240.330 231.123 -7.3 -1.5 -3.8

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

853.642   853.690 4.3 0.0  

Medical care

440.777   474.169 8.9 7.6  

Recreation

126.399   129.907 2.6 2.8  

Education and communication(3)

146.497   149.157 3.6 1.8  

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

1,203.697   1,232.067 5.2 2.4  

Other goods and services

420.855   425.533 0.2 1.1  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

182.526   183.272 -0.8 0.4  

Commodities less food and beverages

145.818   146.882 -1.7 0.7  

Nondurables less food and beverages

191.278   193.484 -2.6 1.2  

Durables

100.273   100.559 -0.6 0.3  

Services

329.202   329.810 2.1 0.2  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

234.829   238.258 1.5 1.5  

All items less medical care

247.658   246.614 0.4 -0.4  

Commodities less food

149.488   150.562 -1.6 0.7  

Nondurables

224.508   225.555 -0.9 0.5  

Nondurables less food

195.531   197.682 -2.4 1.1  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

357.331   366.632 4.1 2.6  

Services less medical care services

318.357   315.911 1.2 -0.8  

Energy(1)

213.241 216.611 209.044 -8.3 -2.0 -3.5

All items less energy

261.871   263.008 1.9 0.4  

All items less food and energy

261.642   263.008 2.0 0.5  

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: Thursday, September 12, 2019