Mid-Atlantic Information Office

Web site: www.bls.gov/ro3/

PLS – 4543
For Release:
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Information: Gerald Perrins
(215) 597-3282
Media Contact:

Sheila Watkins
(215) 861-5600

PHILADELPHIA AREA CONSUMER PRICE INDEX: MAY 2009 (PDF)

Largest Ever Over-the-Year Decline in Energy Prices

Philadelphia area prices for energy and shelter rose in May, while prices for food at home fell over the month, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that energy prices dropped 22.8 percent from May 2008 to May 2009—the largest 12-month decrease since the inception of the index in December 1977.

Following a 1.3-percent increase in April, energy prices rose 3.0 percent in May. The recent advance was dominated by higher prices for gasoline, which rose for the fourth consecutive month, up 27.9 percent since January and 8.1 percent since April. Despite the recent increases, gasoline prices were 39.6 percent below year-ago levels. Higher prices for fuel oil, along with electricity and utility (piped) gas service (both up 0.2 percent) also contributed to the recent one-month rise in the overall energy index. Over the last 12 months, electricity prices advanced 4.4 percent, while natural gas prices fell 2.9 percent. (See table 1.)

The Philadelphia area energy index stood at 188.147 on the 1982-84 base, which means that energy users in the Philadelphia area would have had to spend $18.81 last month for a group of energy items that cost $10.00 in 1982-84.

Shelter prices inched up 0.1 percent in May due to higher prices for owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence (up 0.5 percent) and rent of primary residence (up 0.3 percent). These two published components had over-the-year increases of 0.6 and 1.6 percent, respectively. The overall shelter index rose 0.4 percent over the last 12 months.

The Philadelphia area shelter index stood at 276.980 on the 1982-84 base, which means that local residents would have had to spend $27.70 last month for various types of shelter that cost $10.00 in 1982-84.

Following a 1.1-percent advance in April, food at home prices fell 2.0 percent in May. Lower prices for a number of items including breakfast cereal, other fresh vegetables, and eggs were partially offset by higher prices for a variety of items such as processed fish and seafood, canned fruits and vegetables, and uncooked beef steaks. Prices for food at home declined 0.7 percent since May 2008.

The Philadelphia area food at home index stood at 214.613 on the 1982-84 base, which means that grocery shoppers in the Philadelphia area would have had to spend $21.46 last month for a market basket of food items that cost $10.00 in 1982-84.

The Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md., Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties in New Jersey; New Castle County in Delaware; and Cecil County in Maryland.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from-
Mar. 2009 Apr. 2009 May 2009 May 2008 Mar. 2009 Apr. 2009

All items

- 221.686 - - - -

Food and beverages

- 208.163 - - - -

Food

- 207.838 - - - -

Food at home

216.533 219.018 214.613 -0.7 -0.9 -2.0

Food away from home

- 187.962 - - - -

Alcoholic beverages

- 209.851 - - - -

Housing

- 231.107 - - - -

Shelter

275.108 276.667 276.980 0.4 0.7 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

257.621 256.805 257.634 1.6 0.0 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2)

280.692 281.221 282.574 0.6 0.7 0.5

Fuels and utilities

- 204.012 - - - -

Household energy

184.270 183.727 184.214 -5.6 0.0 0.3

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

204.129 203.185 203.657 2.0 -0.2 0.2

Electricity (1)

195.481 194.598 195.042 4.4 -0.2 0.2

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

221.253 220.175 220.707 -2.9 -0.2 0.2

Household furnishings and operations

- 124.856 - - - -

Apparel

- 105.960 - - - -

Transportation

- 172.532 - - - -

Private transportation

- 170.235 - - - -

Motor fuel

176.303 183.718 197.804 -40.0 12.2 7.7

Gasoline (all types)

172.866 180.420 194.948 -39.6 12.8 8.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

171.283 179.369 194.332 -40.6 13.5 8.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

172.444 178.494 191.112 -38.6 10.8 7.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

168.666 175.055 188.917 -36.2 12.0 7.9

Medical care

- 426.474 - - - -

Recreation (5)

- 123.447 - - - -

Education and communication (5)

- 128.081 - - - -

Other goods and services

- 410.697 - - - -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

- 163.935 - - - -

Commodities less food and beverages

- 139.080 - - - -

Nondurables less food and beverages

- 166.422 - - - -

Durables

- 108.498 - - - -

Services

- 281.163 - - - -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

- 213.108 - - - -

All items less shelter

- 204.305 - - - -

Commodities less food

- 141.616 - - - -

Nondurables

- 187.802 - - - -

Nondurables less food

- 168.838 - - - -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

- 292.590 - - - -

Services less medical care services

- 269.538 - - - -

Energy

180.259 182.652 188.147 -22.8 4.4 3.0

All items less energy

- 227.814 - - - -

All items less food and energy

- 233.519 - - - -

Footnotes
1 This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
2 Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
3 Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
4 Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
5 Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
- Data not available.
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

Last Modified Date: September 23, 2009

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