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BALTIMORE AREA HOUSING COSTS UP SHARPLY DUE TO SEASONAL FACTORS; MEDICAL CARE COSTS ON UPSWING AGAIN

 BALTIMORE AREA HOUSING COSTS UP SHARPLY DUE TO SEASONAL
 FACTORS; MEDICAL CARE COSTS ON UPSWING AGAIN
 BALTIMORE, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Retail prices in the Baltimore area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), rose 0.8 percent for the two-month period ended July 1992, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
 Alan M. Paisner, the bureau's regional commissioner, noted that strong increases in housing and medical care were nearly offset by a sharp seasonal decline in apparel. The CPI-U for Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Queen Annes stood 3.0 percent higher in July of this year than 12 months ago (see table).
 The housing index rose 2.2 percent over the last two months, the largest two-month increase in more than eight years. Electricity, which is priced monthly by the bureau, paced the advance in the housing index, when a normal seasonal rate adjustment in June caused prices to rise 23.7 percent, although they did fall slightly in July, down 0.9 percent. Despite the seasonal increase, the electricity index was lower than a year ago. Increased shelter costs (lodging while out of town, in particular), also put upward pressure on the index. Household furnishings and operation became less expensive since May, down 1.2 percent. Housing costs were 2.6 percent higher over the year.
 Transportation prices rose 1.0 percent since May, due chiefly to higher motor fuel prices. Motor fuel, which is priced monthly by the bureau, became slightly more expensive in July (0.7 percent), and was up 6.5 percent over the year.
 Medical care prices rose 3.6 percent over the last two months, following two consecutive bi-monthly price declines, causing the index to stand 7.2 percent higher over the year. Following normal seasonal patterns, the apparel and upkeep index recorded a two-month decline of 8.5 percent -- the largest two-month drop since July 1990.
 Prices for food and beverages fell slightly since May -- 0.1 percent -- and were 0.4 percent higher over the year. Grocery prices contributed most to the decline in the overall index with a 0.5 percent decline in June, followed by no change in July.
 The CPI-U for the Baltimore area stood at 140.6 on the 1982-84 equals 100 reference base, which means a market basket of goods and services which averaged $100 in the 1982-84 period would have cost $140.60 in July. The local Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) rose 0.9 percent since May to 140.2, up 3.2 percent over the year.
 PERCENT CHANGES IN CPI FOR ALL URBAN CONSUMERS
 (CPI-U) IN THE BALTIMORE AREA, NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
 Change for two Change for
 months ended 12 months
 Expenditure Mar. May July ended
 category 1992 1992 1992 July 1992
 All items 0.5 0.6 0.8 3.0
 Food & beverages 0.6 -0.4 -0.1 0.4
 Housing -0.2 0.5 2.2 2.6
 Apparel & upkeep 9.6 -1.5 -8.5 -1.0
 Transportation -0.3 0.8 1.0 3.6
 Medical care -0.7 -0.6 3.6 7.2
 Entertainment 0.6 0.5 0.6 5.6
 Other goods
 & services 0.1 4.7 0.2 7.8
 Special index:
 Energy -2.6 1.3 9.4 3.1
 -0- 8/13/92
 /CONTACT: Michelle Weihmann (information), 215-596-1154, or Maureen Greene (media), 215-596-1157, both of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics/ CO: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics ST: Maryland IN: HOU SU: ECO


LJ -- PH004 -- 9496 08/13/92 09:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 13, 1992
Words:620
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