Mid-Atlantic Information Office

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PLS-4851

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City –
October 2011

Area Prices Down 0.3 Percent Since August; Up 3.0 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City area decreased 0.3 percent from August to October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent decline was due to a 4.1-percent decrease in the energy index. The food index rose 0.7 percent, while the all items less food and energy index was unchanged since August. (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 increased 3.0 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The all items less food and energy index advanced over the year, up 1.6 percent. Energy and food prices also increased since October 2010, up 13.2 and 4.7 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, October 2008 to October 2011 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

Food prices rose for the third straight bimonthly period, up 3.2 percent since April and 0.7 percent over the last two months. Prices for both food at home and food away from home advanced since August, up 0.7 and 0.6 percent, respectively. Within the food at home component, higher prices for eggs and ice cream and related products, among others, were partially offset by lower prices for various items including canned fruits and vegetables.

Over the year, the food index advanced 4.7 percent. Both components of the food index had price increases over the last 12 months—prices for food at home rose 5.8 percent and those for food away from home, 3.3 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 4.1 percent from August to October—the largest two-month decline in two years. The recent decline largely reflected lower prices for gasoline, down 5.4 percent over the two-month period. Electricity prices, which typically rise in June as summer rate schedules are introduced, then decline in October, posted a smaller-than-normal seasonal decrease of 2.7 percent over the last two months. Prices for utility (piped) gas service also fell since August, down 3.8 percent.

The energy index rose 13.2 percent since last October, due largely to a 23.2-percent jump in gasoline prices. The index for electricity also posted a 12-month increase, up 4.9 percent. The utility (piped) gas service index—which has recorded uninterrupted 12-month declines for over two-and-a-half years—fell 6.5 percent over the year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged from August to October. Price increases among various indexes including recreation (2.2 percent) were offset by price decreases among a number of indexes led by shelter (-0.6 percent) particularly lodging away from home.

Since last October, the index for all items less food and energy increased 1.6 percent, led by higher prices for shelter (1.4 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (1.6 percent). Lower prices for education and communication (-2.5 percent) partially offset the widespread over-the-year price increases within the all items less food and energy group.

The December 2011 Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City is scheduled to be released January 19, 2012, 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 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
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

2.0 4.4 0.7 2.0 0.9 3.7 1.0 -0.3 0.8 2.8 1.3 1.9

April

1.2 4.1 1.0 1.7 1.2 3.9 0.6 -0.9 0.4 2.6 1.0 2.5

June

1.1 4.4 0.9 1.6 2.1 5.1 1.0 -2.0 0.3 1.9 0.6 2.8

August

1.2 4.7 0.7 1.1 0.0 4.4 1.0 -1.0 0.2 1.1 0.7 3.4

October

-2.2 2.0 0.1 3.5 -1.4 2.8 -0.6 -0.1 0.0 1.7 -0.3 3.0

December

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 26,000 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-
Aug. 2011 Sep. 2011 Oct. 2011 Oct. 2010 Aug. 2011 Sep. 2011

All items

236.196 - 235.440 3.0 -0.3 -

Food and beverages

217.590 - 218.896 4.5 0.6 -

Food

217.310 - 218.724 4.7 0.7 -

Food at home

229.589 231.146 231.151 5.8 0.7 0.0

Food away from home

195.717 - 196.913 3.3 0.6 -

Alcoholic beverages

218.724 - 218.650 1.9 0.0 -

Housing

240.734 - 238.917 1.9 -0.8 -

Shelter

287.578 287.794 285.719 1.4 -0.6 -0.7

Rent of primary residence (1)

262.862 264.025 266.454 2.4 1.4 0.9

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

293.082 294.158 295.165 1.6 0.7 0.3

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

293.082 294.158 295.165 1.6 0.7 0.3

Fuels and utilities

224.713 - 219.678 4.9 -2.2 -

Household energy

198.218 196.271 192.693 4.3 -2.8 -1.8

Energy services (1) (3)

206.862 204.240 200.718 1.7 -3.0 -1.7

Electricity (1)

212.704 211.218 206.978 4.9 -2.7 -2.0

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

186.933 181.486 179.877 -6.5 -3.8 -0.9

Household furnishings and operations

122.080 - 122.623 1.4 0.4 -

Apparel

110.434 - 111.937 4.6 1.4 -

Transportation

216.524 - 214.193 9.0 -1.1 -

Private transportation

214.693 - 212.770 9.5 -0.9 -

Motor fuel

318.644 314.591 301.751 23.2 -5.3 -4.1

Gasoline (all types)

314.183 310.141 297.330 23.2 -5.4 -4.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

315.090 310.862 297.916 23.4 -5.5 -4.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

304.839 302.162 289.872 23.1 -4.9 -4.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

293.098 289.390 278.116 21.9 -5.1 -3.9

Medical care

435.789 - 440.500 1.1 1.1 -

Recreation (6)

122.283 - 124.989 1.0 2.2 -

Education and communication (6)

129.138 - 126.045 -2.5 -2.4 -

Other goods and services

434.163 - 441.460 4.7 1.7 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

182.137 - 181.549 5.9 -0.3 -

Commodities less food and beverages

160.115 - 158.820 6.6 -0.8 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

201.430 - 198.824 9.6 -1.3 -

Durables

114.193 - 114.343 1.3 0.1 -

Services

292.753 - 291.820 1.5 -0.3 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

227.590 - 226.677 3.1 -0.4 -

All items less shelter

220.630 - 220.305 3.9 -0.1 -

Commodities less food

162.393 - 161.127 6.4 -0.8 -

Nondurables

212.046 - 211.084 7.3 -0.5 -

Nondurables less food

202.514 - 200.036 9.2 -1.2 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

305.053 - 305.242 1.6 0.1 -

Services less medical care services

280.859 - 279.724 1.5 -0.4 -

Energy

243.260 240.506 233.318 13.2 -4.1 -3.0

All items less energy

237.138 - 237.405 2.0 0.1 -

All items less food and energy

242.981 - 243.065 1.6 0.0 -

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 was formerly titled Gas (piped) and electricity.
(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: November 16, 2011