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Friday, March 16, 2012

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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City –
February 2012

Area Prices Increase 0.7 Percent Since December and 2.2 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City area rose 0.7 percent from December to February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due almost entirely to advances in the energy index and the all items less food and energy index, up 3.8 and 0.3 percent, respectively. The food index also rose since December, edging up 0.2 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 increased 2.2 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The all items less food and energy index advanced 1.6 percent since February 2011. The energy index also increased, up 6.4 percent over the year, as did the food index, up 2.5 percent. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, February 2009 to February 2012 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

Following a 0.2-percent decrease from October to December, food prices edged up 0.2 percent over the last two months. Prices for both food at home and food away from home rose since December, up 0.2 percent each. The two-month increase in the food at home component was led by higher prices for cereals and cereal products, while prices declined for various items including pork.

Over the year, the food index advanced 2.5 percent. Both components of the food index had price increases over the last 12 months—prices for food at home rose 2.4 percent and those for food away from home, 2.7 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 3.8 percent from December to February due to higher prices for gasoline, up 10.1 percent over the two-month period. Moderating the recent rise in the energy index were lower prices for electricity and utility (piped) gas service, down 2.5 and 1.6 percent, respectively.

The energy index rose 6.4 percent since last February, reflecting a 13.6-percent advance in gasoline prices. The utility (piped) gas service component—which has recorded uninterrupted 12-month declines for the last three years—fell 4.0 percent over the year. Prices for electricity also declined, edging down 0.3 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged up 0.3 percent from December to February. The rise mainly reflected a seasonal advance in apparel prices, up 8.6 percent over the last two months. Higher prices for shelter (0.5 percent), particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.6 percent), also contributed to the overall increase. Moderating the two-month rise were decreases in various indexes including recreation (-0.8 percent) and education and communication (-0.3 percent).

Since last February, the index for all items less food and energy increased 1.6 percent, led by higher prices for shelter (2.2 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (1.9 percent). Lower prices for education and communication (-3.4 percent) partially offset the widespread over-the-year price increases within the all items less food and energy group.

The April 2012 Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City is scheduled to be released May 15, 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 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
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

0.7 2.0 0.9 3.7 1.0 -0.3 0.8 2.8 1.3 1.9 0.7 2.2

April

1.0 1.7 1.2 3.9 0.6 -0.9 0.4 2.6 1.0 2.5

June

0.9 1.6 2.1 5.1 1.0 -2.0 0.3 1.9 0.6 2.8

August

0.7 1.1 0.0 4.4 1.0 -1.0 0.2 1.1 0.7 3.4

October

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

December

0.0 3.5 -3.1 -0.4 0.0 3.0 -0.2 1.4 -0.5 2.8

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-
Dec. 2011 Jan. 2012 Feb. 2012 Feb. 2011 Dec. 2011 Jan. 2012

All items

234.312 - 235.857 2.2 0.7 -

Food and beverages

218.563 - 219.017 2.6 0.2 -

Food

218.283 - 218.637 2.5 0.2 -

Food at home

229.965 229.560 230.327 2.4 0.2 0.3

Food away from home

197.340 - 197.675 2.7 0.2 -

Alcoholic beverages

219.692 - 221.588 3.7 0.9 -

Housing

239.844 - 240.490 2.1 0.3 -

Shelter

286.499 287.157 287.859 2.2 0.5 0.2

Rent of primary residence (1)

267.313 267.555 267.449 2.6 0.1 0.0

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

295.923 296.524 297.667 1.9 0.6 0.4

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

295.923 296.524 297.667 1.9 0.6 0.4

Fuels and utilities

222.002 - 219.789 1.0 -1.0 -

Household energy

195.218 191.892 192.338 0.4 -1.5 0.2

Energy services (1)

202.206 197.426 197.608 -1.3 -2.3 0.1

Electricity (1)

207.064 200.486 201.791 -0.3 -2.5 0.7

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

184.892 184.191 181.921 -4.0 -1.6 -1.2

Household furnishings and operations

123.076 - 123.800 3.0 0.6 -

Apparel

101.974 - 110.703 5.0 8.6 -

Transportation

210.655 - 214.810 4.5 2.0 -

Private transportation

208.495 - 212.995 4.7 2.2 -

Motor fuel

286.873 300.042 315.263 13.5 9.9 5.1

Gasoline (all types)

282.375 295.627 310.763 13.6 10.1 5.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

282.593 296.296 311.802 13.7 10.3 5.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

276.457 287.382 300.875 13.1 8.8 4.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

265.681 276.736 289.463 12.7 9.0 4.6

Medical care

440.496 - 441.300 -0.1 0.2 -

Recreation (5)

125.980 - 124.920 2.4 -0.8 -

Education and communication (5)

124.418 - 124.012 -3.4 -0.3 -

Other goods and services

440.790 - 442.644 4.3 0.4 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

178.996 - 182.932 3.9 2.2 -

Commodities less food and beverages

155.525 - 160.788 4.6 3.4 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

192.536 - 202.355 5.9 5.1 -

Durables

114.347 - 114.033 1.8 -0.3 -

Services

291.916 - 291.507 1.3 -0.1 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

225.526 - 227.085 2.3 0.7 -

All items less shelter

218.376 - 220.042 2.1 0.8 -

Commodities less food

157.938 - 163.135 4.6 3.3 -

Nondurables

207.256 - 213.097 4.3 2.8 -

Nondurables less food

194.117 - 203.576 5.8 4.9 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

304.545 - 301.933 0.2 -0.9 -

Services less medical care services

279.928 - 279.366 1.3 -0.2 -

Energy

228.944 231.705 237.601 6.4 3.8 2.5

All items less energy

236.632 - 237.350 1.7 0.3 -

All items less food and energy

242.229 - 243.017 1.6 0.3 -

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: March 16, 2012

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