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Washington-Baltimore Consumer Price Index: October 2009 (PDF)

Largest Over-the-Year Decline in Electricity Prices since April 2003

Prices for energy and food at home fell in the Washington-Baltimore area in October, while shelter prices rose, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that only shelter prices were higher than their year-ago levels; the shelter index advanced 1.9 percent since October 2008, while prices for energy and food at home were 13.8 and 2.6 percent lower, respectively. (See table 1.)

Following a 0.3-percent decline in September, energy prices fell 3.5 percent in October. Lower electricity prices dominated the recent one-month decline in the energy index, falling 7.0 percent since September. Electricity prices normally increase each June when summer rate schedules are introduced, then decline in October. Over the year, electricity prices decreased 1.0 percent—the largest 12-month decline since April 2003. Gasoline prices were also lower in October, down 1.3 percent, while utility (piped) gas service prices rose 2.9 percent. Since October 2008, gasoline and utility (piped) gas service prices experienced identical decreases, down 21.7 percent each.

The Washington-Baltimore energy index stood at 193.050 on the November 1996=100 base, which means that area energy users would have spent $19.31 for a group of energy items that cost $10.00 in November 1996.

Food at home prices fell 0.6 percent in October following no change in September. Lower prices for other pork including roasts and picnics, other poultry including turkey, and frozen fruits and vegetables, were partially offset by higher prices for a number of items including other fresh fruits, milk, and apples.

The Washington-Baltimore area food at home index stood at 134.994 on the December 1997=100 base, which means that grocery shoppers in the Washington-Baltimore area would have spent $13.50 last month for a market basket of food items that cost $10.00 in December 1997.

Shelter prices inched up 0.1 percent since September due to increases in both its published components—owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence (0.1 percent) and rent of primary residence (0.2 percent). These two components had over-the-year increases of 2.3 and 3.2 percent, respectively.

The Washington-Baltimore area shelter index stood at 156.901 on the December 1997=100 base, which means that area residents would have spent $15.69 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-
Aug. 2009 Sep. 2009 Oct. 2009 Oct. 2008 Aug. 2009 Sep. 2009

All items (1)

- 140.945 - - - -

Food and beverages (1)

- 139.358 - - - -

Food (1)

- 140.500 - - - -

Food at home

135.750 135.797 134.994 -2.6 -0.6 -0.6

Food away from home (2)

- 143.757 - - - -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

- 122.301 - - - -

Housing (1)

- 152.940 - - - -

Shelter

158.219 156.814 156.901 1.9 -0.8 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

170.457 169.845 170.148 3.2 -0.2 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

157.581 156.738 156.918 2.3 -0.4 0.1

Fuels and utilities

- 193.637 - - - -

Household energy

196.956 199.115 188.700 -6.3 -4.2 -5.2

Gas (piped) and electricity (3)

192.049 194.185 183.667 -5.4 -4.4 -5.4

Electricity (3)

203.473 206.394 191.921 -1.0 -5.7 -7.0

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

132.714 131.995 135.838 -21.7 2.4 2.9

Household furnishings and operations

- 100.150 - - - -

Apparel (1)

- 95.201 - - - -

Transportation (1)

- 127.967 - - - -

Private transportation

- 127.528 - - - -

Motor fuel

212.310 207.798 205.236 -21.8 -3.3 -1.2

Gasoline (all types)

212.336 207.816 205.200 -21.7 -3.4 -1.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

215.144 210.327 207.761 -21.6 -3.4 -1.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

211.336 207.248 204.049 -22.3 -3.4 -1.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

211.611 207.478 205.031 -21.4 -3.1 -1.2

Medical care (1)

- 142.945 - - - -

Recreation

- 117.676 - - - -

Education and communication

- 133.683 - - - -

Other goods and services (1)

- 164.648 - - - -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

- 121.369 - - - -

Commodities less food and beverages

- 111.162 - - - -

Nondurables less food and beverages

- 134.928 - - - -

Durables

- 85.242 - - - -

Services

- 153.850 - - - -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care (1)

- 140.783 - - - -

All items less shelter

- 132.877 - - - -

Commodities less food

- 111.767 - - - -

Nondurables

- 136.594 - - - -

Nondurables less food

- 133.973 - - - -

Services less rent of shelter

- 151.261 - - - -

Services less medical care services

- 154.752 - - - -

Energy (1)

200.711 200.093 193.050 -13.8 -3.8 -3.5

All items less energy

- 136.288 - - - -

All items less food and energy (1)

- 136.489 - - - -

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: November 19, 2009

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