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Washington-Baltimore Consumer Price Index – February 2010 (PDF)

Prices for energy fell in the Washington-Baltimore area in February, while both shelter and food at home 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 food at home prices were lower than their year-ago levels; the food at home index declined 1.9 percent, while prices for energy and shelter were 4.6 and 0.8 percent higher, respectively. (See table 1.)

Following a 2.5-percent increase in January, energy prices fell 7.5 percent in February. The recent decrease was due in large part to lower electricity prices, which dropped 19.7 percent over the month and 21.2 percent over the year. Both the 1-month and 12-month declines were the largest since the inception of the index in December 1997. Gasoline prices were also lower in February, down 0.3 percent. Despite the recent decline, gasoline prices jumped 40.8 percent over the year. Moderating the overall decline in the energy index were higher prices for utility (piped) gas service, up 0.9 percent since January. Over the last 12 months, utility gas service prices were 10.2 percent lower.

The Washington-Baltimore energy index stood at 185.421 on the November 1996=100 base, which means that area energy users would have spent $18.54 for a group of energy items that cost $10.00 in November 1996.

Shelter prices inched up 0.1 percent since January. Prices for rent of primary residence rose 0.4 percent in February, while prices for owners’ equivalent rent of residences were unchanged. These two published components had over-the-year increases of 2.6 and 1.7 percent, respectively.

The Washington-Baltimore area shelter index stood at 156.065 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.

Food at home prices increased 0.4 percent in February. Higher prices for milk, uncooked other beef and veal, and uncooked beef roasts, among others, were partially offset by lower prices for a number of items including cakes, cupcakes, and cookies and other poultry including turkey.

The Washington-Baltimore area food at home index stood at 135.033 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.

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-
Dec. 2009 Jan. 2010 Feb. 2010 Feb. 2009 Dec. 2009 Jan. 2010

All items (1)

- 141.124 - - - -

Food and beverages (1)

- 139.579 - - - -

Food (1)

- 140.757 - - - -

Food at home

132.918 134.477 135.033 -1.9 1.6 0.4

Food away from home (2)

- 145.778 - - - -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

- 122.175 - - - -

Housing (1)

- 151.224 - - - -

Shelter

155.521 155.895 156.065 0.8 0.3 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

170.660 170.786 171.470 2.6 0.5 0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3) (4)

156.267 156.492 156.454 1.7 0.1 0.0

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3) (4)

156.267 156.497 156.454 1.7 0.1 0.0

Fuels and utilities

- 184.353 - - - -

Household energy

184.428 187.028 158.974 -18.1 -13.8 -15.0

Gas (piped) and electricity (3)

178.949 180.976 152.281 -19.0 -14.9 -15.9

Electricity (3)

186.323 186.163 149.438 -21.2 -19.8 -19.7

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

134.581 143.673 144.918 -10.2 7.7 0.9

Household furnishings and operations

- 99.124 - - - -

Apparel (1)

- 89.147 - - - -

Transportation (1)

- 133.987 - - - -

Private transportation

- 134.276 - - - -

Motor fuel

217.413 225.022 224.249 40.6 3.1 -0.3

Gasoline (all types)

217.397 225.039 224.252 40.8 3.2 -0.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

220.128 228.366 227.837 42.7 3.5 -0.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)

216.556 223.303 222.113 37.7 2.6 -0.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

217.010 223.358 221.812 35.7 2.2 -0.7

Medical care (1)

- 146.888 - - - -

Recreation

- 117.644 - - - -

Education and communication

- 134.992 - - - -

Other goods and services (1)

- 166.872 - - - -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

- 122.339 - - - -

Commodities less food and beverages

- 112.569 - - - -

Nondurables less food and beverages

- 136.617 - - - -

Durables

- 86.372 - - - -

Services

- 153.501 - - - -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care (1)

- 140.753 - - - -

All items less shelter

- 133.629 - - - -

Commodities less food

- 113.103 - - - -

Nondurables

- 137.504 - - - -

Nondurables less food

- 135.503 - - - -

Services less rent of shelter

- 151.676 - - - -

Services less medical care services

- 154.049 - - - -

Energy (1)

195.612 200.443 185.421 4.6 -5.2 -7.5

All items less energy

- 136.473 - - - -

All items less food and energy (1)

- 136.661 - - - -

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) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(5) 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: March 19, 2010

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