Relatively healthy Baltimore-D.C. economy helped drive up prices

The Baltimore Sun

If those Black Friday sales in November didn't seem as sweet as you expected, here's proof: Government data show consumer prices were much higher in Baltimore-Washington that month, compared with November 2007, than in the nation as a whole.

Clothing, in particular, showed few signs of markdowns. Nationally, apparel prices were flat compared with the previous November, suggesting that retailers were eager to move the merchandise with deals. But in the Baltimore-Washington region, apparel prices soared 6.3 percent during the same period.

Possible credit goes to this region's relatively healthy economy. It might not feel like a boomtown, but according to the latest figures, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia aren't losing jobs the way the nation as a whole is.

With higher demand, stores theoretically wouldn't need to offer as many bargains to clear the market.

Overall, consumer prices for Baltimore-Washington were up 2.5 percent from November to November, more than twice as much as for the country. Fuel and utilities helped regional inflation outpace that of the nation.

So did prices for health care, one of Baltimore's specialties. Consumer medical costs rose by 4.2 percent from November to November for Baltimore-Washington but only 2.7 percent for the country.

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