Mid-Atlantic Information Office

Web site: www.bls.gov/ro3/ PLS - 4534
For Release:
Friday, May 15, 2009
Information: Gerald Perrins
(215) 597-3282
Media Contact: Sheila Watkins
(215) 861-5600

WASHINGTON-BALTIMORE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX: April 2009 (PDF)

Largest Decline in Food at Home Prices since January 2005

Prices for food at home fell in the Washington-Baltimore area in April, while energy prices rose and shelter prices were unchanged, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that despite the recent one-month advance, energy prices were down 18.8 percent over the year. Prices for food at home (2.0 percent) and shelter (2.4 percent) rose since last April. (See table 1.)

Due largely to lower prices for uncooked ground beef, ham, and carbonated drinks, food at home prices declined 1.9 percent since March—the largest one-month decrease in the food at home index since January 2005. Moderating the decline in the food at home index were higher prices for a number of items including fish and seafood, frozen fruits and vegetables, and snacks.

The Washington-Baltimore area food at home index stood at 135.515 on the December 1997=100 base, which means that grocery shoppers in the Washington-Baltimore area would have spent $13.55 last month for a market basket of food items that cost $10.00 in December 1997.

The energy index advanced 2.8 percent in April after falling 2.4 percent in March. The recent increase was led by a 4.9-percent rise in gasoline prices. The utility (piped) gas service index also rose over the month, up 12.2 percent—the largest one-month increase since October 2005. Over the last 12 months, the prices for gasoline and utility gas fell 39.3 and 12.7 percent, respectively. Moderating the recent advance in the energy index were lower prices for electricity, which decreased 0.6 percent since March but were 10.8 percent higher over the year.

The Washington-Baltimore energy index stood at 177.842 on the November 1996=100 base, which means that area energy users would have spent $17.78 for a group of energy items that cost $10.00 in November 1996.

The shelter index, which includes rent of primary residence, lodging away from home, owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence, and tenants’ and household insurance, was unchanged over the month following a 0.8-percent increase in March. The two published components, owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence and rent of primary residence, edged up 0.2 percent each since March. Since April 2008, the owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence index increased 3.1 percent and the rent of primary residence index rose 4.8 percent.

The Washington-Baltimore area shelter index stood at 156.131 on the December 1997=100 base, which means that area residents would have spent $15.61 on various types of shelter that cost $10.00 in December 1997.

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, Fairfax, Fauquier, King George, Loudoun, Prince William, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren in Virginia; and the counties of Berkeley and Jefferson in West Virginia.

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-
Feb. 2009 Mar. 2009 Apr. 2009 Apr. 2008 Feb. 2009 Mar. 2009

All items (1)

- 138.620 - - - -

Food and beverages (1)

- 140.264 - - - -

Food (1)

- 141.722 - - - -

Food at home

137.620 138.098 135.515 2.0 -1.5 -1.9

Food away from home (2)

- 143.757 - - - -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

- 120.020 - - - -

Housing (1)

- 151.674 - - - -

Shelter

154.867 156.085 156.131 2.4 0.8 0.0

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

167.135 167.773 168.139 4.8 0.6 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

153.892 155.398 155.658 3.1 1.1 0.2

Fuels and utilities

- 180.981 - - - -

Household energy

194.055 184.990 187.876 4.0 -3.2 1.6

Gas (piped) and electricity (3)

188.009 179.081 182.092 5.3 -3.1 1.7

Electricity (3)

189.743 186.944 185.888 10.8 -2.0 -0.6

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

161.463 133.062 149.318 -12.7 -7.5 12.2

Household furnishings and operations

- 103.627 - - - -

Apparel (1)

- 96.914 - - - -

Transportation (1)

- 117.457 - - - -

Private transportation

- 117.081 - - - -

Motor fuel

159.466 161.628 169.481 -39.3 6.3 4.9

Gasoline (all types)

159.290 161.539 169.413 -39.3 6.4 4.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

159.616 162.315 170.172 -40.3 6.6 4.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

161.313 163.267 171.589 -37.3 6.4 5.1

Gasoline,unleaded premium (4)

163.440 163.902 171.296 -36.9 4.8 4.5

Medical care (1)

- 142.003 - - - -

Recreation

- 115.470 - - - -

Education and communication

- 130.970 - - - -

Other goods and services (1)

- 161.662 - - - -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

- 119.274 - - - -

Commodities less food and beverages

- 107.388 - - - -

Nondurables less food and beverages

- 126.695 - - - -

Durables

- 86.025 - - - -

Services

- 151.372 - - - -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care (1)

- 138.387 - - - -

All items less shelter

- 129.674 - - - -

Commodities less food

- 108.064 - - - -

Nondurables

- 133.178 - - - -

Nondurables less food

- 126.277 - - - -

Services less rent of shelter

- 146.337 - - - -

Services less medical care services

- 152.160 - - - -

Energy (1)

177.267 172.947 177.842 -18.8 0.3 2.8

All items less energy

- 135.533 - - - -

All items less food and energy (1)

- 135.413 - - - -

Footnotes
1 For Washington-Baltimore, index is on a November 1996=100 base.
2 For Washington-Baltimore, index is 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: September 23, 2009

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