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Philadelphia Area Consumer Price Index – March 2010 (PDF)

Philadelphia area energy prices increased, while food at home and shelter prices declined in March, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that only food at home prices were lower than their year-ago levels; the food at home index declined 1.2 percent, while prices for energy and shelter were 15.1 percent and 1.9 percent higher, respectively. (See table 1.)

Following a 1.1-percent decline in February, energy prices rose 1.5 percent in March. The recent advance was due largely to higher gasoline prices, which were up 2.9 percent over the month and 38.1 percent since March 2009. A 2.3-percent increase in prices for utility (piped) gas service also contributed to the recent one-month rise in the overall energy index. Over the year, the utility (piped) gas service index dropped 7.0 percent—its 13th consecutive 12-month decrease. Electricity prices declined in March, down 0.5 percent. Despite the recent decrease, electricity prices were 2.1 percent higher over the year.

The Philadelphia area energy index stood at 207.475 on the 1982-84 reference base, which means that energy users in the Philadelphia area would have had to spend $20.75 last month for a group of energy items that cost $10.00 in 1982-84.

The food at home index fell 1.7 percent in March—the largest one-month decrease since May 2009. Lower prices for a number of items including chicken and ice cream and related products were partially offset by higher prices for items such as uncooked beef steaks and other pork including roasts and picnics.

The Philadelphia area food at home index stood at 213.847 on the 1982-84 reference base, which means that grocery shoppers in the Philadelphia area would have had to spend $21.38 last month for a market basket of food items that cost $10.00 in 1982-84.

Following a 0.4-percent increase in February, shelter prices decreased 0.2 percent in March due largely to a 0.5-percent decrease in owners’ equivalent rent of residences. Also contributing to the overall decline in the shelter index were lower prices for rent of primary residence, down 0.4 percent over the month. Over the year, the owner’s equivalent rent of residences and rent of primary residence indexes increased 2.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

The Philadelphia area shelter index stood at 280.336 on the 1982-84 reference base, which means that local residents would have had to spend $28.03 last month for various types of shelter 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-
Jan. 2010 Feb. 2010 Mar. 2010 Mar. 2009 Jan. 2010 Feb. 2010

All items

- 226.529 - - - -

Food and beverages

- 207.753 - - - -

Food

- 207.668 - - - -

Food at home

217.947 217.509 213.847 -1.2 -1.9 -1.7

Food away from home

- 189.199 - - - -

Alcoholic beverages

- 206.532 - - - -

Housing

- 234.104 - - - -

Shelter

279.888 280.970 280.336 1.9 0.2 -0.2

Rent of primary residence (1)

261.240 260.230 259.235 0.6 -0.8 -0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1) (2) (3)

288.312 289.627 288.303 2.7 0.0 -0.5

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

288.312 289.627 288.303 2.7 0.0 -0.5

Fuels and utilities

- 210.871 - - - -

Household energy

188.682 188.384 188.779 2.4 0.1 0.2

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

201.802 202.161 202.699 -0.7 0.4 0.3

Electricity (1)

200.077 200.614 199.559 2.1 -0.3 -0.5

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

201.235 201.134 205.709 -7.0 2.2 2.3

Household furnishings and operations

- 120.133 - - - -

Apparel

- 105.611 - - - -

Transportation

- 191.487 - - - -

Private transportation

- 189.500 - - - -

Motor fuel

240.742 235.175 242.140 37.3 0.6 3.0

Gasoline (all types)

237.324 231.842 238.671 38.1 0.6 2.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

237.281 231.414 238.756 39.4 0.6 3.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

231.881 228.464 232.627 34.9 0.3 1.8

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

225.773 221.680 226.597 34.3 0.4 2.2

Medical care

- 428.144 - - - -

Recreation (6)

- 120.299 - - - -

Education and communication (6)

- 130.085 - - - -

Other goods and services

- 419.535 - - - -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

- 169.317 - - - -

Commodities less food and beverages

- 146.726 - - - -

Nondurables less food and beverages

- 178.648 - - - -

Durables

- 111.167 - - - -

Services

- 285.533 - - - -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

- 217.966 - - - -

All items less shelter

- 209.501 - - - -

Commodities less food

- 148.983 - - - -

Nondurables

- 194.448 - - - -

Nondurables less food

- 180.253 - - - -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

- 297.022 - - - -

Services less medical care services

- 273.994 - - - -

Energy

206.866 204.493 207.475 15.1 0.3 1.5

All items less energy

- 230.658 - - - -

All items less food and energy

- 236.942 - - - -

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 underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(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: April 15, 2010

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