Mid-Atlantic Information Office

For release: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 PLS-4794

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

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

Area Prices 1.0 Percent Higher Since March; 3.9 Percent Higher Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area rose 1.0 percent from March to May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase reflected advances in the indexes for energy (7.7 percent), all items less food and energy (0.3 percent), and food (0.9 percent). 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 3.9 percent—the largest over-the-year increase since September 2008. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since May 2010, prices increased for all items less food and energy (2.3 percent), energy (19.3 percent), and food (4.3 percent). (See table 1.)

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

Food

The food index advanced for the third consecutive bimonthly period, up 3.6 percent since November 2010 and 0.9 percent over the last two months. Prices for food away from home and food at home increased 1.0 and 0.8 percent, respectively, from March to May. Within the food at home group, higher prices for various items including other fresh vegetables were partially offset by lower prices for items such as tomatoes.

The food index rose 4.3 percent since May 2010. Over the year, prices for food at home increased 5.6 percent and those for food away from home rose 2.9 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 7.7 percent since March. The 12.8-percent rise in gasoline prices dominated the two-month advance in the energy index. Prices also rose for electricity (1.5 percent) from March to May, while utility (piped) gas service prices fell 2.1 percent.

Energy prices advanced 19.3 percent over the last 12 months—the index’s largest over-the-year increase since September 2008—due almost entirely to a 38.2-percent jump in gasoline prices. Lower prices for electricity (-3.7 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (-2.4 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 0.3 percent from March to May. The two-month advance was led by higher prices for apparel, up 3.4 percent. Moderating the overall increase were bimonthly declines in several categories including education and communication (-0.8 percent).

Since May 2010, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.3 percent. Higher prices for shelter (2.5 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (2.5 percent), led the over-the-year advance. Household furnishings and operations prices fell 5.0 percent; this index has recorded uninterrupted 12-month decreases stretching back to September 2009. A 1.0-percent decrease in recreation prices also helped to moderate the over-the-year increase in the all items less food and energy index.

The July 2011 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on August 18, 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 1.0 3.9

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-
Mar. 2011 Apr. 2011 May 2011 May 2010 Mar. 2011 Apr. 2011

All items (1)

146.044 - 147.554 3.9 1.0 -

Food and beverages (1)

144.113 - 145.465 4.3 0.9 -

Food (1)

145.722 - 147.057 4.3 0.9 -

Food at home

141.396 140.361 142.561 5.6 0.8 1.6

Food away from home (2)

148.291 - 149.807 2.9 1.0 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

122.261 - 123.725 3.7 1.2 -

Housing (1)

154.133 - 154.137 1.5 0.0 -

Shelter

161.109 160.988 160.988 2.5 -0.1 0.0

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

175.691 175.965 176.201 2.5 0.3 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

161.503 161.386 161.261 2.5 -0.1 -0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

161.507 161.391 161.267 2.5 -0.1 -0.1

Fuels and utilities

178.647 - 180.265 -0.5 0.9 -

Household energy

177.966 179.152 179.431 -2.1 0.8 0.2

Energy services (3) (4)

168.972 170.214 170.424 -3.5 0.9 0.1

Electricity (3)

174.464 176.972 177.149 -3.7 1.5 0.1

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

131.980 128.865 129.162 -2.4 -2.1 0.2

Household furnishings and operations

94.208 - 93.973 -5.0 -0.2 -

Apparel (1)

97.225 - 100.517 10.1 3.4 -

Transportation (1)

147.362 - 154.544 13.2 4.9 -

Private transportation

146.945 - 155.266 14.0 5.7 -

Motor fuel

293.364 315.658 329.990 38.0 12.5 4.5

Gasoline (all types)

293.218 316.001 330.609 38.2 12.8 4.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

299.046 322.771 337.702 38.8 12.9 4.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)

288.290 309.830 324.485 37.2 12.6 4.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

286.730 307.611 321.477 36.3 12.1 4.5

Medical care (1)

153.795 - 154.680 4.0 0.6 -

Recreation

115.757 - 115.698 -1.0 -0.1 -

Education and communication

137.099 - 135.958 0.4 -0.8 -

Other goods and services (1)

168.386 - 169.073 0.3 0.4 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

128.316 - 131.838 7.1 2.7 -

Commodities less food and beverages

119.273 - 123.917 8.9 3.9 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

152.299 - 160.218 14.6 5.2 -

Durables

84.299 - 85.678 0.0 1.6 -

Services

157.627 - 157.686 2.1 0.0 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care (1)

145.559 - 147.104 3.9 1.1 -

All items less shelter

138.397 - 140.709 4.7 1.7 -

Commodities less food

119.505 - 124.005 8.6 3.8 -

Nondurables

147.400 - 151.916 9.3 3.1 -

Nondurables less food

149.810 - 157.162 13.7 4.9 -

Services less rent of shelter

154.531 - 154.822 1.6 0.2 -

Services less medical care services

157.993 - 158.002 2.0 0.0 -

Energy (1)

226.880 237.671 244.354 19.3 7.7 2.8

All items less energy

140.110 - 140.686 2.6 0.4 -

All items less food and energy (1)

140.105 - 140.563 2.3 0.3 -

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: June 16, 2011

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