Mid-Atlantic Information Office

For release: Friday, January 15, 2010 PLS - 4621
Technical Information: (215) 597-3282 • BLSInfoPhiladelphia@bls.govwww.bls.gov/ro3
Media Contact: (215) 861-5600 • BLSMediaPhiladelphia@bls.gov

PHILADELPHIA AREA CONSUMER PRICE INDEX: DECEMBER 2009 (PDF)

First Over-the-Year Increase in Retail Prices Since October 2008

Retail prices in the Philadelphia area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), were unchanged from October to December, following a 0.6-percent decrease in the previous two-month period, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Lower prices for apparel, medical care, recreation, and education and communication were offset by higher prices for transportation, food and beverages, and other goods and services. The housing index was unchanged since October. (See chart 1.) Sheila Watkins, the Bureau's regional commissioner, noted that the local CPI rose 3.0 percent since last December—the first 12-month increase since October 2008. Over the year, the core inflation rate, as measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose 2.5 percent. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 2-month and 12-month percent changes ended December 2009 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the Philadelphia area, not seasonally adjusted

2-month and 12-month percent changes ended December 2009 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the Philadelphia area, not seasonally adjusted

Chart Data

Following normal seasonal patterns, apparel prices fell 7.4 percent from October to December. Over the year, apparel prices jumped 10.0 percent—the largest 12-month increase since July 1992.

The medical care index fell 1.1 percent over the last two months—the largest two-month decrease since January 1990. Due to declines in the last three bimonthly periods, the medical care index fell 0.9 percent over the year—the first 12-month decline since the inception of the index in January 1947.

Recreation prices decreased 1.7 percent over the last two months. Over the year, recreation prices fell 1.4 percent.

The education and communication index declined 1.1 percent since October after falling 1.0 percent in the previous bimonthly period. Since December 2008, the education and communication index increased 0.4 percent.

The housing index was unchanged from October to December as a decline in the shelter component was offset by increases in the fuels and utilities and household furnishings and operations components. Shelter prices edged down 0.3 percent since October but were 2.3 percent higher than their year-ago levels. Prices for fuels and utilities rose 1.6 percent over the last two months due to price increases for both utility (piped) gas service (2.1 percent), and electricity (0.4 percent). Over the year, the utility (piped) gas service index dropped 16.0 percent, while the electricity index increased 1.6 percent. The fuels and utilities index fell 1.0 percent over the last 12 months. The household furnishings and operations index edged up 0.2 percent since October but were 2.1 percent lower since December 2008. The overall housing index advanced 1.5 percent over the year.

The remaining categories had higher prices from October to December. The transportation index increased 1.9 percent since October due to a 3.8-percent advance in gasoline prices. Since December 2008, gasoline prices jumped 42.4 percent—the largest 12-month advance since September 2005. The transportation index rose 12.5 percent from its year-ago level.

Following three consecutive bimonthly declines totaling 1.7 percent, the food and beverages index advanced 1.4 percent since October. Prices for food at home rose 2.2 percent over the last two months; higher prices for food away from home and alcoholic beverages, up 0.5 percent each, also contributed to the recent two-month increase in the food and beverages index. Over the last 12 months, food at home prices fell 1.2 percent, while prices for food away from home increased 2.0 percent and those for alcoholic beverages rose 1.8 percent. Over the year, the food and beverages index edged up 0.3 percent.

The other goods and services index rose 1.8 percent from October to December. Since December 2008, the other goods and services index, which includes tobacco and smoking products, personal care products, personal care services, and miscellaneous personal services such as legal, funeral, and laundry and dry cleaning services, advanced 8.3 percent—the largest 12-month increase since June 1999.

The energy index, which reflects prices for gasoline and household fuels, rose 2.7 percent since October. Contributing to the two-month advance were higher prices for gasoline (3.8 percent), utility (piped) gas service (2.1 percent), and electricity (0.4 percent). Energy prices were 11.7 percent higher over the year.

Over the last two months, the services index edged down 0.3 percent, while the commodities index increased 0.5 percent. Since December 2008, prices rose for both services and commodities, up 1.5 and 5.8 percent, respectively.

The CPI-U for the Philadelphia area stood at 224.800 on the 1982-84=100 reference base, which means that a market basket of goods and services which averaged $100.00 in 1982-84 would have cost $224.80 in December 2009.

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.

The relative importance of a component of the CPI is its expenditure or value weight expressed as a percentage of all items within an area. Relative importance ratios show approximately how the index population distributes expenditures when the value weights are collected and represent an estimate of how consumers would distribute their expenditures as prices change over time. Relative importance ratios cannot be used as estimates of current spending patterns or as indicators of changing consumer expenditures in the intervals between weight revisions because consumption patterns are influenced by factors—including income, variations in climate, family size, and availability of new and different kinds of goods and services—other than price change. (See table A.)

Table A (2005-2006 weights). Relative Importance of components in the Consumer Price Index: Philadelphia area, December 2008
Item and group CPI-U
Expenditure category

All items

100.000

Food and beverages

14.239

Food

13.267

Food at home

7.379

Food away from home

5.889

Alcoholic beverages

0.972

Housing

47.540

Shelter

36.829

Rent of primary residence

6.021

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence

28.445

Fuels and utilities

6.872

Household energy

5.813

Gas (piped) and electricity

5.205

Electricity

3.512

Utility (piped) gas service

1.694

Household furnishings and operations

3.839

Apparel

3.580

Transportation

14.105

Private transportation

13.082

Motor fuel

2.989

Gasoline

2.802

Medical care

5.355

Recreation

5.061

Education and communication

6.929

Other goods and services

3.192
Commodity and service group

Commodities

35.551

Commodities less food and beverages

21.313

Non durables less food and beverages

12.656

Durables

8.657

Services

64.449
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

94.645

All items less shelter

63.171

Commodities less food

22.284

Nondurables

26.894

Nondurables less food

13.627

Services less rent of shelter

27.926

Services less medical care services

60.579

Energy

8.802

All items less energy

91.198

All items less food and energy

77.930
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-
Oct. 2009 Nov. 2009 Dec. 2009 Dec. 2008 Oct. 2009 Nov. 2009

All items

224.787 - 224.800 3.0 0.0 -

Food and beverages

204.602 - 207.409 0.3 1.4 -

Food

204.024 - 206.957 0.2 1.4 -

Food at home

211.862 214.336 216.613 -1.2 2.2 1.1

Food away from home

187.827 - 188.726 2.0 0.5 -

Alcoholic beverages

209.800 - 210.841 1.8 0.5 -

Housing

233.017 - 233.022 1.5 0.0 -

Shelter

280.221 279.365 279.397 2.3 -0.3 0.0

Rent of primary residence (1)

259.963 260.329 260.704 0.6 0.3 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2) (3)

288.084 287.696 288.159 2.7 0.0 0.2

Fuels and utilities

203.637 - 206.840 -1.0 1.6 -

Household energy

180.712 182.669 184.144 -2.7 1.9 0.8

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

196.971 197.015 198.707 -4.1 0.9 0.9

Electricity (1)

195.234 195.038 195.996 1.6 0.4 0.5

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

196.533 197.190 200.725 -16.0 2.1 1.8

Household furnishings and operations

122.522 - 122.741 -2.1 0.2 -

Apparel

107.662 - 99.718 10.0 -7.4 -

Transportation

186.641 - 190.137 12.5 1.9 -

Private transportation

184.926 - 188.373 13.6 1.9 -

Motor fuel

222.712 233.671 231.097 39.8 3.8 -1.1

Gasoline (all types)

219.476 230.385 227.830 42.4 3.8 -1.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

219.044 230.042 227.240 45.4 3.7 -1.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

216.237 226.481 224.634 36.3 3.9 -0.8

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

210.120 220.177 219.139 36.0 4.3 -0.5

Medical care

424.823 - 420.002 -0.9 -1.1 -

Recreation (6)

122.795 - 120.653 -1.4 -1.7 -

Education and communication (6)

128.883 - 127.426 0.4 -1.1 -

Other goods and services

414.423 - 422.047 8.3 1.8 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

167.544 - 168.407 5.8 0.5 -

Commodities less food and beverages

145.641 - 145.638 9.5 0.0 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

177.221 - 175.809 14.6 -0.8 -

Durables

110.537 - 112.005 2.1 1.3 -

Services

283.824 - 283.015 1.5 -0.3 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

216.302 - 216.450 3.3 0.1 -

All items less shelter

207.297 - 207.669 3.5 0.2 -

Commodities less food

148.012 - 148.039 9.2 0.0 -

Nondurables

192.121 - 192.636 7.0 0.3 -

Nondurables less food

179.058 - 177.777 13.7 -0.7 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

294.067 - 293.274 0.4 -0.3 -

Services less medical care services

272.496 - 271.738 1.7 -0.3 -

Energy

195.133 200.395 200.370 11.7 2.7 0.0

All items less energy

229.802 - 229.185 2.2 -0.3 -

All items less food and energy

236.623 - 235.328 2.5 -0.5 -

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) This index series will undergo a change in composition in January, 2010. The expenditure class will include weight from secondary residences, and will be re-titled Owners' equivalent rent of residences. The item stratum Owners' equivalent rent of primary residences, which prior to January, 2010 is identical to the EC, will be published as well.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) 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: January 19, 2010

Recommend this page using: