Mid-Atlantic Information Office

For release: Friday, April 15, 2011 PLS-4775

Technical information: (215) 597-3282 • BLSInfoPhiladelphia@bls.govwww.bls.gov/ro3
Media contact: (215) 861-5600 • BLSMediaPhiladelphia@bls.gov

Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – March 2011 (PDF)

Area Prices 1.2 Percent Higher Since January; 3.0 Percent Higher Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area rose 1.2 percent from January to March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase largely reflected higher energy prices (8.0 percent); advances in the indexes for all items less food and energy (0.6 percent) and food (0.9 percent) also contributed to the overall rise. The two-month increase in the energy index was dominated by higher gasoline prices. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, two-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U rose 3.0 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since March 2010, prices increased for all items less food and energy (2.0 percent), energy (13.0 percent), and food (3.6 percent). (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Washington-Baltimore, March 2008 to March 2011 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

Since January, the food index advanced 0.9 percent, led by a 1.2-percent increase in prices for food at home. Within the food at home group, higher prices for various items including tomatoes, canned fruits and vegetables, and other meats were partially offset by lower prices for items such as uncooked ground beef and frozen fruits and vegetables. Prices for food away from home increased 0.4 percent since January.

The food index advanced 3.6 percent since March 2010. Over the year, prices for food at home increased 4.5 percent and those for food away from home rose 2.5 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, advanced 8.0 percent since January. A 13.6-percent rise in gasoline prices dominated the two-month increase in the energy index; prices also rose for fuel oil and electricity (0.5 percent) from January to March. During the same period, utility (piped) gas service prices fell 1.3 percent.

The energy index advanced 13.0 percent since March 2010 due almost entirely to a 28.6-percent jump in gasoline prices. Lower prices for electricity (-5.3 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (-5.8 percent) moderated the 12-month increase in the energy index.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent from January to March. The two-month increase was led by an advance in prices for shelter (0.8 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.7 percent). Moderating the overall increase were bimonthly declines in several categories including household furnishings and operations (-1.6 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.0 percent. Higher prices for shelter (3.1 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (3.3 percent), led the 12-month advance. Household furnishings and operations prices fell 5.1 percent—the largest decline since the inception of the index. A 2.0-percent decrease in recreation prices also helped to moderate the over-the-year increase in the all items less food and energy index.

The May 2011 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on June 15, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).
Table A. Washington-Baltimore CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

January

0.7 4.1 0.5 2.9 0.8 4.9 -0.7 1.0 0.3 2.6 1.0 2.3

March

0.4 3.3 1.5 4.1 1.3 4.7 0.7 0.4 0.4 2.3 1.2 3.0

May

1.6 4.2 0.8 3.2 1.1 5.0 0.5 -0.2 0.2 1.9

July

1.5 4.6 1.1 2.9 1.7 5.7 1.1 -0.9 0.0 0.8

September

-0.4 2.8 0.2 3.4 0.0 5.5 0.1 -0.8 0.5 1.3

November

-0.7 3.1 0.4 4.5 -2.5 2.5 -0.2 1.6 0.1 1.6

Technical Note

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 87 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 32 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 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 25,000 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/homch17_a.htm.

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 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.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; TDD message referral phone number: 1-800-877-8339.

For personal assistance or further information on Consumer Price Indexes, as well as other Bureau products, contact the Mid-Atlantic Information Office at (215) 597-3282 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.

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-
Jan. 2011 Feb. 2011 Mar. 2011 Mar. 2010 Jan. 2011 Feb. 2011

All items (1)

144.327 - 146.044 3.0 1.2 -

Food and beverages (1)

143.053 - 144.113 3.5 0.7 -

Food (1)

144.485 - 145.722 3.6 0.9 -

Food at home

139.673 139.765 141.396 4.5 1.2 1.2

Food away from home (2)

147.665 - 148.291 2.5 0.4 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

122.994 - 122.261 2.7 -0.6 -

Housing (1)

153.243 - 154.133 1.7 0.6 -

Shelter

159.827 160.425 161.109 3.1 0.8 0.4

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

174.913 175.561 175.691 2.3 0.4 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

160.431 160.923 161.503 3.3 0.7 0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

160.430 160.922 161.507 3.3 0.7 0.4

Fuels and utilities

177.361 - 178.647 -2.4 0.7 -

Household energy

176.446 176.933 177.966 -3.9 0.9 0.6

Energy services (3) (4)

168.661 168.725 168.972 -5.4 0.2 0.1

Electricity (3)

173.564 174.178 174.464 -5.3 0.5 0.2

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

133.665 131.892 131.980 -5.8 -1.3 0.1

Household furnishings and operations

95.733 - 94.208 -5.1 -1.6 -

Apparel (1)

93.460 - 97.225 1.7 4.0 -

Transportation (1)

141.461 - 147.362 9.7 4.2 -

Private transportation

141.077 - 146.945 9.3 4.2 -

Motor fuel

258.188 260.691 293.364 28.7 13.6 12.5

Gasoline (all types)

258.088 260.240 293.218 28.6 13.6 12.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

262.505 264.946 299.046 29.3 13.9 12.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)

255.089 256.692 288.290 27.1 13.0 12.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

254.377 255.680 286.730 26.9 12.7 12.1

Medical care (1)

153.378 - 153.795 3.4 0.3 -

Recreation

114.755 - 115.757 -2.0 0.9 -

Education and communication

137.539 - 137.099 1.6 -0.3 -

Other goods and services (1)

169.330 - 168.386 0.6 -0.6 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

125.513 - 128.316 4.2 2.2 -

Commodities less food and beverages

115.567 - 119.273 4.7 3.2 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

144.470 - 152.299 9.0 5.4 -

Durables

84.641 - 84.299 -2.1 -0.4 -

Services

156.702 - 157.627 2.4 0.6 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care (1)

143.769 - 145.559 3.0 1.2 -

All items less shelter

136.469 - 138.397 3.0 1.4 -

Commodities less food

116.003 - 119.505 4.6 3.0 -

Nondurables

143.077 - 147.400 6.2 3.0 -

Nondurables less food

142.737 - 149.810 8.5 5.0 -

Services less rent of shelter

154.067 - 154.531 1.5 0.3 -

Services less medical care services

156.988 - 157.993 2.3 0.6 -

Energy (1)

210.039 211.436 226.880 13.0 8.0 7.3

All items less energy

139.281 - 140.110 2.2 0.6 -

All items less food and energy (1)

139.337 - 140.105 2.0 0.6 -

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 was formerly titled Gas (piped) and electricity.
(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: April 15, 2011

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