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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

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Consumer Price Index, Washington-Baltimore – March 2013

Area Prices Rise 0.9 Percent Since January and 1.4 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Washington-Baltimore area increased 0.9 percent from January to March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that a 6.4-percent increase in the energy index led the recent advance; the all items less food and energy index, up 0.4 percent, and the food index, up 0.5 percent, also contributed to the overall increase. (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 1.4 percent, dominated by a 1.7-percent advance in the all items less food and energy index. (See chart 1 and table A.) The food index also increased, up 1.4 percent over the year, while the energy index declined, down 0.9 percent. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Washington-Baltimore, March 2010 to March 2013 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

The food index increased 0.5 percent over the last two months as prices rose for both food away from home (0.6 percent) and food at home (0.5 percent). Within the food at home component, various price increases were led by fresh fish and seafood, while lower prices for other items, such as ice cream and related products, moderated the advance.

Food prices rose 1.4 percent since last March, due to a 3.7-percent increase in prices for food away from home. The food at home index edged down 0.3 percent over the year.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, advanced 6.4 percent from January to March, due largely to a 9.0-percent jump in gasoline prices. Also contributing to the rise in energy prices were higher prices for electricity, up 4.0 percent, and utility (piped) gas service, up 0.5 percent.

Energy prices declined 0.9 percent over the year due mainly to a 1.6-percent decrease in gasoline prices; lower prices for propane, kerosene, and firewood also contributed. Moderating the decline in the energy index were over-the-year price increases for electricity (0.7 percent) and utility (piped) gas service (0.8 percent), each of which ended a stretch of uninterrupted 12-month decreases that began in July and May 2012, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent since January. A smaller-than-usual seasonal increase in apparel prices, up 1.4 percent, led the two-month advance. Also contributing to the recent advance were widespread price increases for other components, including medical care (0.5 percent) and other goods and services (0.9 percent).

Since March 2012, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent. The advance was due largely to an over-the-year increase in shelter prices (2.6 percent), particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (2.5 percent). Moderating the rise in the all items less food and energy group since last March was an 8.8-percent drop in apparel prices, which was the largest over-the-year decline for this component in over eight years.

The May 2013 Consumer Price Index for Washington-Baltimore is scheduled to be released on June 18, 2013, 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 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
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

0.8 4.9 -0.7 1.0 0.3 2.6 1.0 2.3 0.4 2.7 0.1 1.8

March

1.3 4.7 0.7 0.4 0.4 2.3 1.2 3.0 1.3 2.8 0.9

1.4

May

1.1 5.0 0.5 -0.2 0.2 1.9 1.0 3.9 0.1 1.8

July

1.7 5.7 1.1 -0.9 0.0 0.8 0.1 4.1 -0.2 1.4

September

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

November

-2.5 2.5 -0.2 1.6 0.1 1.6 -0.1 3.3 -0.7 2.1

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 88 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 29 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, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, King George, Loudoun, Prince William, 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; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.



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. 2013 Feb. 2013 Mar. 2013 Mar. 2012 Jan. 2013 Feb. 2013

All items (1)

150.845 - 152.188 1.4 0.9 -

Food and beverages (1)

149.324 - 150.316 1.5 0.7 -

Food (1)

151.019 - 151.836 1.4 0.5 -

Food at home

144.263 145.830 144.932 -0.3 0.5 -0.6

Food away from home (2)

157.019 - 158.028 3.7 0.6 -

Alcoholic beverages (2)

126.654 - 129.693 2.9 2.4 -

Housing (1)

160.134 - 160.664 2.3 0.3 -

Shelter

169.765 170.232 169.826 2.6 0.0 -0.2

Rent of primary residence (1) (3)

188.537 188.623 188.750 3.7 0.1 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (3)

169.618 169.953 169.505 2.5 -0.1 -0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (3)

169.609 169.943 169.496 2.5 -0.1 -0.3

Fuels and utilities

172.631 - 177.108 1.4 2.6 -

Household energy

166.434 170.076 171.519 0.3 3.1 0.8

Energy services (3)

157.494 160.707 162.540 0.7 3.2 1.1

Electricity (3)

163.269 166.569 169.741 0.7 4.0 1.9

Utility (piped) gas service (3)

122.715 125.298 123.366 0.8 0.5 -1.5

Household furnishings and operations

93.032 - 93.612 0.4 0.6 -

Apparel (1)

92.915 - 94.174 -8.8 1.4 -

Transportation (1)

150.743 - 155.885 1.1 3.4 -

Private transportation

149.851 - 154.882 0.5 3.4 -

Motor fuel

288.630 313.839 314.177 -1.7 8.9 0.1

Gasoline (all types)

288.141 313.669 314.154 -1.6 9.0 0.2

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

292.552 319.112 319.196 -2.2 9.1 0.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4)

284.879 308.672 309.879 -0.8 8.8 0.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

287.359 310.635 312.826 0.6 8.9 0.7

Medical care (1)

166.217 - 167.019 3.9 0.5 -

Recreation

114.815 - 114.908 -0.5 0.1 -

Education and communication

143.095 - 143.060 2.0 0.0 -

Other goods and services (1)

174.084 - 175.642 0.8 0.9 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

129.099 - 131.741 -0.5 2.0 -

Commodities less food and beverages

117.774 - 121.211 -1.7 2.9 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

150.321 - 156.215 -2.7 3.9 -

Durables

83.319 - 84.335 0.0 1.2 -

Services

165.241 - 165.662 2.5 0.3 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care (1)

149.894 - 151.271 1.2 0.9 -

All items less shelter

141.343 - 143.287 0.8 1.4 -

Commodities less food

118.242 - 121.668 -1.5 2.9 -

Nondurables

149.092 - 152.506 -0.6 2.3 -

Nondurables less food

148.349 - 154.025 -2.3 3.8 -

Services less rent of shelter

160.920 - 161.774 2.4 0.5 -

Services less medical care services

165.243 - 165.644 2.4 0.2 -

Energy (1)

218.181 231.222 232.167 -0.9 6.4 0.4

All items less energy

145.649 - 146.241 1.6 0.4 -

All items less food and energy (1)

145.714 - 146.274 1.7 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: April 18, 2013

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