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BALTIMORE AREA RETAIL PRICES UP 0.5 PERCENT SINCE JANUARY

 BALTIMORE AREA RETAIL PRICES UP 0.5 PERCENT SINCE JANUARY
 BALTIMORE, April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Retail prices in the Baltimore area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), rose 0.5 percent for the two-month period ended March 1992, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
 Alan M. Paisner, the bureau's regional commissioner, noted that more expensive apparel and upkeep was chiefly responsible for the overall advance. The CPI-U for Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, and Queen Annes stood 2.7 percent higher in March of this year than 12 months ago. (See table A.)
 Apparel and upkeep prices increased a seasonal 9.6 percent since January, the largest bimonthly increase since September 1990; the jump was mainly caused by more expensive women's and girls' apparel (women's dresses in particular).
 The food and beverages index rose 0.6 percent over the last two months paced by more expensive produce prices. Grocery prices, which are surveyed monthly by the Bureau, fell 0.6 percent since February. A 4.2 percent drop in prices at the butcher counter was the largest one-month decrease since the monthly index began in January 1976. Food and beverages prices increased 1.1 percent over the year.
 Entertainment was priced higher over the last two months, while other goods and services showed virtually no change. Transportation prices declined 0.3 percent since January, primarily due to lower motor fuel prices.
 The housing index fell slightly over the last two months (down 0.2 percent), caused mainly by less expensive household furnishings and operation (TV and sound equipment in particular). The drop in the housing index was moderated by a rise in shelter costs since January. The housing index stood 1.2 percent higher over the year.
 Medical care prices also fell over the last two months (down 0.7 percent), the first 2-month drop in a year.
 The CPI-U for the Baltimore area stood at 138.7 on the 1982-84-100 base, which means that a market basket of goods and services which averaged $100.00 in the 1982-84 period would have cost $138.70 in March. The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) rose 0.4 percent since January to 137.9. Table A.: Percent changes in CPI-U, Baltimore area, not seasonally adjusted.
 Change for two Change for
 months ended 12 months
 Expenditure Nov. Jan. Mar. ended
 category 1991 1992 1992 Mar. 1992
 All items -0.3 0.1 0.5 2.7
 Food & beverages -0.4 1.3 0.6 1.1
 Housing -1.6 0.0 -0.2 1.2
 Apparel & upkeep -0.4 -2.9 9.6 5.0
 Transportation 1.4 -0.2 -0.3 2.9
 Medical care 2.8 2.1 -0.7 7.6
 Entertainment 1.2 0.1 0.6 4.4
 Other goods and services 0.0 0.2 0.1 7.7
 Special index:
 Energy -5.0 -0.7 -2.6 0.2
 -0- 4/10/92
 /CONTACT: Michelle Weihmann (information), 215-596-1154, or Maureen Greene (media), 215-596-1157, 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


MP -- PH003 -- 7080 04/10/92 09:07 EDT
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Date:Apr 10, 1992
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