Mid-Atlantic Information Office

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PLS-4857

Friday, December 16, 2011

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – November 2011

Area Prices 0.1 Percent Lower Since September; 3.3 Percent Higher Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area inched down 0.1 percent from September to November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that lower energy prices (-5.1 percent) were nearly offset by higher prices for all items less food and energy (0.4 percent) and food (0.6 percent) over the last two months. The decrease in the energy index was led by a seasonal decline in electricity 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 3.3 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Prices increased for all items less food and energy (2.3 percent), energy (10.1 percent), and food (4.8 percent) since November 2010. (See table 1.)

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

Food

The food index rose 0.6 percent from September to November, led by higher prices for food at home, up 0.7 percent. Within the food at home group, higher prices for a number of items including other fresh fruits and frozen fruits and vegetables were moderated by lower prices for others such as potatoes. The other component of the food index, food away from home, increased 0.4 percent over the last two months.

Over the year, the food index rose 4.8 percent. The recent increase was largely due to higher prices for food at home, which advanced 7.0 percent; food away from home prices also rose, up 2.4 percent since last November.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, fell 5.1 percent since September due to lower prices for both electricity (-8.7 percent) and gasoline (-4.2 percent). The decrease in electricity prices followed normal seasonal patterns; electricity rates typically rise in June and July as summer rate schedules are introduced, then decline in October and November. Utility (piped) gas service prices increased 1.1 percent over the last two months.

Energy prices advanced 10.1 percent since November 2010 due almost entirely to a 19.4-percent increase in gasoline prices. Lower prices for electricity (-2.5 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (-3.0 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 0.4 percent from September to November, led by higher prices for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.7 percent) and apparel (2.7 percent). Lower prices for lodging away from home helped to moderate the overall advance. Recreation prices also fell since September, down 1.2 percent—the largest two-month decrease since March 2009.

Over the last 12 months, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.3 percent. The advance was led by higher shelter prices, up 2.4 percent since November 2010, particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences, up 2.2 percent. Price decreases for household furnishings and operations (-3.3 percent) and recreation (-2.4 percent) moderated the over-the-year increase in the all items less food and energy index.

The January 2012 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on February 17, 2012, 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 0.1 4.1

September

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

November

-0.7 3.1 0.4 4.5 -2.5 2.5 -0.2 1.6 0.1 1.6 -0.1 3.3

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 26,000 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-
Sep. 2011 Oct. 2011 Nov. 2011 Nov. 2010 Sep. 2011 Oct. 2011

All items (1)

147.658 - 147.565 3.3 -0.1 -

Food and beverages (1)

146.268 - 147.024 4.7 0.5 -

Food (1)

147.987 - 148.830 4.8 0.6 -

Food at home

143.878 143.727 144.852 7.0 0.7 0.8

Food away from home (2)

150.252 - 150.921 2.4 0.4 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

123.242 - 123.107 3.0 -0.1 -

Housing (1)

155.428 - 155.266 1.7 -0.1 -

Shelter

162.366 163.000 163.097 2.4 0.5 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

178.491 179.498 179.942 3.4 0.8 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

162.530 163.262 163.599 2.2 0.7 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

162.519 163.254 163.589 2.2 0.7 0.2

Fuels and utilities

184.399 - 174.659 0.3 -5.3 -

Household energy

182.708 174.504 170.841 -1.1 -6.5 -2.1

Energy services (3) (4)

173.673 165.438 161.502 -2.6 -7.0 -2.4

Electricity (3)

181.751 171.344 165.900 -2.5 -8.7 -3.2

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

127.540 127.457 128.980 -3.0 1.1 1.2

Household furnishings and operations

93.104 - 93.530 -3.3 0.5 -

Apparel (1)

97.518 - 100.108 10.2 2.7 -

Transportation (1)

150.734 - 148.165 7.7 -1.7 -

Private transportation

150.867 - 147.918 8.1 -2.0 -

Motor fuel

294.652 284.712 282.591 19.5 -4.1 -0.7

Gasoline (all types)

294.686 284.542 282.246 19.4 -4.2 -0.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

300.324 289.574 287.112 19.5 -4.4 -0.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5)

290.182 281.143 278.364 19.2 -4.1 -1.0

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

288.801 279.873 278.953 19.3 -3.4 -0.3

Medical care (1)

155.464 - 156.546 3.2 0.7 -

Recreation

114.291 - 112.939 -2.4 -1.2 -

Education and communication

138.946 - 140.310 1.7 1.0 -

Other goods and services (1)

170.928 - 173.341 3.1 1.4 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

129.811 - 129.289 5.1 -0.4 -

Commodities less food and beverages

120.411 - 119.220 5.4 -1.0 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

152.720 - 151.587 9.1 -0.7 -

Durables

86.090 - 84.877 -0.4 -1.4 -

Services

159.315 - 159.529 2.2 0.1 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care (1)

147.169 - 147.009 3.3 -0.1 -

All items less shelter

140.184 - 139.685 3.8 -0.4 -

Commodities less food

120.636 - 119.494 5.2 -0.9 -

Nondurables

148.708 - 148.548 6.8 -0.1 -

Nondurables less food

150.282 - 149.237 8.6 -0.7 -

Services less rent of shelter

156.762 - 156.351 2.0 -0.3 -

Services less medical care services

159.709 - 159.859 2.2 0.1 -

Energy (1)

229.947 221.124 218.241 10.1 -5.1 -1.3

All items less energy

141.626 - 142.204 2.7 0.4 -

All items less food and energy (1)

141.510 - 142.048 2.3 0.4 -

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: January 19, 2012