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Friday, February 17, 2012

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – January 2012

Area Prices Up 0.4 Percent Since November; 2.7 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area rose 0.4 percent from November to January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the two-month rise reflected increases in the indexes for all items less food and energy (0.4 percent), food (0.5 percent), and energy (0.7 percent). Higher prices for shelter led the increase in the all items less food and energy group over the last two months. (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 2.7 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Prices advanced for all items less food and energy (2.3 percent), food (3.5 percent), and energy (4.7 percent) since January 2011. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Washington-Baltimore, January 2009 to January 2012 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

The food index increased 0.5 percent from November to January, due mainly to higher prices for food away from home, up 0.8 percent. The food at home component also rose over the last two months, up 0.3 percent, led by higher prices for dairy and related products.

Over the year, the food index rose 3.5 percent. The recent increase reflected higher prices for food at home, up 4.0 percent, and for food away from home, up 3.0 percent, since last January.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 0.7 percent since November, as prices increased for both utility (piped) gas (4.2 percent) and electricity (1.1 percent). Gasoline prices were also higher over the last two months, inching up 0.1 percent.

Energy prices increased 4.7 percent since January 2011, due almost entirely to a 9.5-percent advance in gasoline prices. Prices for utility (piped) gas service also rose over the year, up 0.5 percent. A 3.3-percent decline in electricity prices 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 November to January, due mostly to higher shelter prices (0.8 percent). Also contributing to the overall advance were higher prices for recreation, up 1.4 percent—their largest two-month increase since July 2006. A seasonal decline in apparel prices (-4.8 percent) moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index.

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 2.8 percent since January 2011. Prices decreased for household furnishings and operations (-2.0 percent) and recreation (-0.2 percent); both of these indexes have recorded uninterrupted 12-month declines for over one-and-a-half years.

The March 2012 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on April 13, 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 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
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

0.5 2.9 0.8 4.9 -0.7 1.0 0.3 2.6 1.0 2.3 0.4 2.7

March

1.5 4.1 1.3 4.7 0.7 0.4 0.4 2.3 1.2 3.0

May

0.8 3.2 1.1 5.0 0.5 -0.2 0.2 1.9 1.0 3.9

July

1.1 2.9 1.7 5.7 1.1 -0.9 0.0 0.8 0.1 4.1

September

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

November

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-
Nov. 2011 Dec. 2011 Jan. 2012 Jan. 2011 Nov. 2011 Dec. 2011

All items (1)

147.565 - 148.163 2.7 0.4 -

Food and beverages (1)

147.024 - 147.872 3.4 0.6 -

Food (1)

148.830 - 149.583 3.5 0.5 -

Food at home

144.852 144.454 145.286 4.0 0.3 0.6

Food away from home (2)

150.921 - 152.073 3.0 0.8 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

123.107 - 125.037 1.7 1.6 -

Housing (1)

155.266 - 156.488 2.1 0.8 -

Shelter

163.097 163.456 164.367 2.8 0.8 0.6

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

179.942 180.278 180.902 3.4 0.5 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

163.599 163.833 164.455 2.5 0.5 0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

163.589 163.823 164.446 2.5 0.5 0.4

Fuels and utilities

174.659 - 177.029 -0.2 1.4 -

Household energy

170.841 173.434 173.765 -1.5 1.7 0.2

Energy services (3)

161.502 164.064 164.167 -2.7 1.7 0.1

Electricity (3)

165.900 167.237 167.754 -3.3 1.1 0.3

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

128.980 135.345 134.341 0.5 4.2 -0.7

Household furnishings and operations

93.530 - 93.831 -2.0 0.3 -

Apparel (1)

100.108 - 95.280 1.9 -4.8 -

Transportation (1)

148.165 - 148.342 4.9 0.1 -

Private transportation

147.918 - 148.268 5.1 0.2 -

Motor fuel

282.591 272.232 283.177 9.7 0.2 4.0

Gasoline (all types)

282.246 271.572 282.560 9.5 0.1 4.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

287.112 276.024 287.826 9.6 0.2 4.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

278.364 268.356 278.227 9.1 0.0 3.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

278.953 268.873 277.923 9.3 -0.4 3.4

Medical care (1)

156.546 - 158.094 3.1 1.0 -

Recreation

112.939 - 114.540 -0.2 1.4 -

Education and communication

140.310 - 140.745 2.3 0.3 -

Other goods and services (1)

173.341 - 172.465 1.9 -0.5 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

129.289 - 129.001 2.8 -0.2 -

Commodities less food and beverages

119.220 - 118.350 2.4 -0.7 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

151.587 - 149.739 3.6 -1.2 -

Durables

84.877 - 84.965 0.4 0.1 -

Services

159.529 - 160.756 2.6 0.8 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care (1)

147.009 - 147.549 2.6 0.4 -

All items less shelter

139.685 - 139.954 2.6 0.2 -

Commodities less food

119.494 - 118.737 2.4 -0.6 -

Nondurables

148.548 - 148.078 3.5 -0.3 -

Nondurables less food

149.237 - 147.692 3.5 -1.0 -

Services less rent of shelter

156.351 - 157.520 2.2 0.7 -

Services less medical care services

159.859 - 161.066 2.6 0.8 -

Energy (1)

218.241 214.871 219.843 4.7 0.7 2.3

All items less energy

142.204 - 142.735 2.5 0.4 -

All items less food and energy (1)

142.048 - 142.550 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) 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: February 17, 2011

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