Mid-Atlantic Information Office

For release: Friday, January 14, 2011 PLS - 4746
Technical Information: (215) 597-3282 • BLSInfoPhiladelphia@bls.govwww.bls.gov/ro3
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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia–Wilmington–Atlantic City –
December 2010 (PDF)

Area Prices 0.2 Percent Lower Since October; 1.4 Percent Higher Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City area edged down 0.2 percent from October to December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that two-month declines in the indexes for all items less food and energy (-0.8 percent) and food (-0.1 percent) were partially offset by higher prices in the energy index (4.4 percent). (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, two-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U rose 1.4 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since December 2009, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 0.9 percent. Prices also increased for both energy (7.4 percent) and food (0.8 percent) over the year.

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Philadelphia–Wilmington–Atlantic City, December 2007 to December 2010 (not seasonally adjusted)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), PhiladelphiaWilmingtonAtlantic City, December 2007 to December 2010 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

Food prices inched down 0.1 percent from October to December following a 0.7-percent rise in the previous bimonthly period. The recent decrease reflected lower prices for food at home, down 0.3 percent. Within the food at home component, price decreases for pork and fish and seafood, among others, were partially offset by higher prices for a number of items including other fresh fruits and eggs. Moderating the overall decline in the food index were higher prices for food away from home, which inched up 0.1 percent since October.

Since December 2009, the food index rose 0.8 percent. Both components of the food index had price increases over the year—prices for food away from home advanced 1.1 percent and those for food at home, 0.6 percent.

Energy

The energy index increased 4.4 percent since October, dominated by a 9.5-percent advance in gasoline prices. Price decreases for utility (piped) gas service (-2.7 percent) and electricity (-0.4 percent) moderated the increase in the energy index from October to December.

The energy index advanced 7.4 percent over the last 12 months, led by a 15.9-percent jump in gasoline prices. Higher prices for fuel oil and electricity (0.3 percent) also contributed to the 12-month rise in the energy index. Partially offsetting these advances, the index for utility (piped) gas service—which has not recorded an over-the-year advance since February 2009—declined 6.8 percent since last December.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy decreased 0.8 percent from October to December, led by price declines for recreation (-3.9 percent) and apparel (-6.9 percent). Moderating the overall decrease were higher prices for various items including owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.1 percent) and medical care (0.2 percent).

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent. Higher prices for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.9 percent) and medical care (4.0 percent) led the 12-month advance. Lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-2.5 percent) and recreation (-1.4 percent) moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index since last December.

The February 2011 Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City is scheduled to be released on March 17, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

Table A. Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index (not seasonally adjusted)
Month 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

February

1.2 4.5 2.0 4.4 0.7 2.0 0.9 3.7 1.0 -0.3 0.8 2.8

April

1.6 4.4 1.2 4.1 1.0 1.7 1.2 3.9 0.6 -0.9 0.4 2.6

June

0.7 3.4 1.1 4.4 0.9 1.6 2.1 5.1 1.0 -2.0 0.3 1.9

August

0.9 3.8 1.2 4.7 0.7 1.1 0.0 4.4 1.0 -1.0 0.2 1.1

October

0.4 3.6 -2.2 2.0 0.1 3.5 -1.4 2.8 -0.6 -0.1 0.0 1.7

December

-1.3 3.6 0.0 3.3 0.0 3.5 -3.1 -0.4 0.0 3.0 -0.2 1.4

Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes CPIs for two population groups: (1) a CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) which covers approximately 87 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 32 percent of the total population. The CPI-U includes, in addition to wage earners and clerical workers, groups such as professional, managerial, and technical workers, the self-employed, short-term workers, the unemployed, and retirees and others not in the labor force.

The CPI is based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, and fuels, transportation fares, charges for doctors' and dentists' services, drugs, and the other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living. Each month, prices are collected in 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 25,000 retail establishments--department stores, supermarkets, hospitals, filling stations, and other types of stores and service establishments. All taxes directly associated with the purchase and use of items are included in the index.

The index measures price changes from a designated reference date (1982-84) that equals 100.0. An increase of 16.5 percent, for example, is shown as 116.5. This change can also be expressed in dollars as follows: the price of a base period "market basket" of goods and services in the CPI has risen from $10 in 1982-84 to $11.65. For further details see the CPI home page on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the BLS Handbook of Methods, Chapter 17, The Consumer Price Index, available on the Internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch17_a.htm.

In calculating the index, price changes for the various items in each location are averaged together with weights that represent their importance in the spending of the appropriate population group. Local data are then combined to obtain a U.S. city average. Because the sample size of a local area is smaller, the local area index is subject to substantially more sampling and other measurement error than the national index. In addition, local indexes are not adjusted for seasonal influences. As a result, local area indexes show greater volatility than the national index, although their long-term trends are quite similar. NOTE: Area indexes do not measure differences in the level of prices between cities; they only measure the average change in prices for each area since the base period.

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.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; TDD message referral phone number: 1-800-877-8339.

For personal assistance or further information on Consumer Price Indexes, as well as other Bureau products, contact the Mid-Atlantic Information Office at (215) 597-3282 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.

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. 2010 Nov. 2010 Dec. 2010 Dec. 2009 Oct. 2010 Nov. 2010

All items

228.543 - 228.017 1.4 -0.2 -

Food and beverages

209.456 - 209.259 0.9 -0.1 -

Food

208.875 - 208.626 0.8 -0.1 -

Food at home

218.517 218.425 217.951 0.6 -0.3 -0.2

Food away from home

190.593 - 190.714 1.1 0.1 -

Alcoholic beverages

214.494 - 214.975 2.0 0.2 -

Housing

234.572 - 233.839 0.4 -0.3 -

Shelter

281.793 280.906 280.837 0.5 -0.3 0.0

Rent of primary residence (1)

260.162 259.996 260.036 -0.3 0.0 0.0

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

290.571 290.749 290.762 0.9 0.1 0.0

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

290.571 290.749 290.762 0.9 0.1 0.0

Fuels and utilities

209.350 - 210.212 1.6 0.4 -

Household energy

184.687 185.160 184.622 0.3 0.0 -0.3

Gas (piped) and electricity (1) (3)

197.307 196.792 195.204 -1.8 -1.1 -0.8

Electricity (1)

197.367 196.193 196.535 0.3 -0.4 0.2

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

192.311 193.486 187.030 -6.8 -2.7 -3.3

Household furnishings and operations

120.969 - 119.711 -2.5 -1.0 -

Apparel

106.995 - 99.632 -0.1 -6.9 -

Transportation

196.575 - 202.078 6.3 2.8 -

Private transportation

194.345 - 199.950 6.1 2.9 -

Motor fuel

244.951 255.923 268.022 16.0 9.4 4.7

Gasoline (all types)

241.328 252.210 264.148 15.9 9.5 4.7

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

241.502 252.322 264.552 16.4 9.5 4.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

235.382 246.316 257.115 14.5 9.2 4.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

228.181 238.695 248.532 13.4 8.9 4.1

Medical care

435.821 - 436.786 4.0 0.2 -

Recreation (6)

123.795 - 119.002 -1.4 -3.9 -

Education and communication (6)

129.246 - 128.973 1.2 -0.2 -

Other goods and services

421.675 - 421.299 -0.2 -0.1 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

171.489 - 172.016 2.1 0.3 -

Commodities less food and beverages

148.981 - 149.763 2.8 0.5 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

181.380 - 184.186 4.8 1.5 -

Durables

112.889 - 111.447 -0.5 -1.3 -

Services

287.481 - 286.000 1.1 -0.5 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

219.787 - 219.221 1.3 -0.3 -

All items less shelter

212.046 - 211.682 1.9 -0.2 -

Commodities less food

151.404 - 152.182 2.8 0.5 -

Nondurables

196.784 - 198.343 3.0 0.8 -

Nondurables less food

183.256 - 185.945 4.6 1.5 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

300.343 - 298.205 1.7 -0.7 -

Services less medical care services

275.675 - 274.172 0.9 -0.5 -

Energy

206.159 210.768 215.224 7.4 4.4 2.1

All items less energy

232.727 - 231.122 0.8 -0.7 -

All items less food and energy

239.172 - 237.331 0.9 -0.8 -

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) In January, 2011, this series will be re-titled Energy services.
(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 14, 2011

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