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Thursday, November 15, 2012

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

Area Prices Up 0.4 Percent Since August; 2.2 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City area rose 0.4 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 increase was due to advances in the energy and food indexes, up 2.4 and 1.3 percent, respectively. 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 2.2 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The all items less food and energy index advanced 1.9 percent since October 2011. The energy index and the food index also increased over the year, up 4.1 and 1.9 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

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

Food

Food prices rose 1.3 percent over the last two months. Food at home prices advanced 2.2 percent, reflecting price increases for various items including chicken, other fresh fruits, and pork. Food away from home prices were unchanged since August.

Over the year, the food index advanced 1.9 percent. Both components of the food index had price increases since October 2011—prices for food at home rose 2.5 percent and those for food away from home, 0.9 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 2.4 percent from August to October. The recent rise was led by higher prices for electricity, which rose 3.9 percent over the last two months, counter to their usual seasonal pattern. Also contributing to the two-month advance in the energy index were a 1.4-percent increase in the gasoline index and a 0.3-percent increase in utility (piped) gas service prices.

The energy index advanced 4.1 percent since last October due to a 10.4-percent jump in gasoline prices. Lower prices for electricity (-1.8 percent) moderated the rise in the energy index. The utility (piped) gas service component—which has recorded uninterrupted 12-month declines for more than three and a half years—also posted lower prices over the last 12 months, down 3.0 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged from August to October. Widespread price increases were led by education and communication (0.9 percent) and apparel (1.8 percent). Offsetting these two-month advances were lower prices for shelter (-0.5 percent), particularly those for lodging away from home.

Since last October, the index for all items less food and energy increased 1.9 percent, due largely to higher prices for shelter (2.3 percent), particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (1.8 percent). Price increases were widespread among the other components of the all items less food and energy group including apparel (6.6 percent), other goods and services (4.5 percent), and medical care (2.6 percent). A 1.4-percent decline in recreation prices moderated the advance in the all items less food and energy index since October 2011.

The December 2012 Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City is scheduled to be released January 16, 2013, 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 0.8 2.0

June

0.9 1.6 2.1 5.1 1.0 -2.0 0.3 1.9 0.6 2.8 -0.2 1.3

August

0.7 1.1 0.0 4.4 1.0 -1.0 0.2 1.1 0.7 3.4 0.9 1.4

October

0.1 3.5 -1.4 2.8 -0.6 -0.1 0.0 1.7 -0.3 3.0 0.4 2.2

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 88 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 29 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; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

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. 2012 Sep. 2012 Oct. 2012 Oct. 2011 Aug. 2012 Sep. 2012

All items

239.557 - 240.537 2.2 0.4 -

Food and beverages

220.313 - 223.003 1.9 1.2 -

Food

219.976 - 222.853 1.9 1.3 -

Food at home

231.836 232.780 236.866 2.5 2.2 1.8

Food away from home

198.756 - 198.746 0.9 0.0 -

Alcoholic beverages

222.253 - 222.177 1.6 0.0 -

Housing

242.846 - 242.880 1.7 0.0 -

Shelter

293.571 291.954 292.228 2.3 -0.5 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

269.607 271.459 271.854 2.0 0.8 0.1

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

299.612 300.225 300.618 1.8 0.3 0.1

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

299.612 300.225 300.618 1.8 0.3 0.1

Fuels and utilities

212.225 - 217.967 -0.8 2.7 -

Household energy

184.302 185.593 190.373 -1.2 3.3 2.6

Energy services (1)

190.794 191.082 196.278 -2.2 2.9 2.7

Electricity (1)

195.631 195.384 203.297 -1.8 3.9 4.0

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

173.903 175.349 174.449 -3.0 0.3 -0.5

Household furnishings and operations

122.693 - 122.720 0.1 0.0 -

Apparel

117.231 - 119.287 6.6 1.8 -

Transportation

221.643 - 223.280 4.2 0.7 -

Private transportation

221.254 - 222.309 4.5 0.5 -

Motor fuel

327.852 339.246 332.691 10.3 1.5 -1.9

Gasoline (all types)

323.715 334.931 328.345 10.4 1.4 -2.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

324.481 335.502 328.654 10.3 1.3 -2.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

314.386 326.503 321.275 10.8 2.2 -1.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

303.083 314.080 308.689 11.0 1.8 -1.7

Medical care

451.486 - 451.946 2.6 0.1 -

Recreation (5)

123.746 - 123.282 -1.4 -0.4 -

Education and communication (5)

126.424 - 127.586 1.2 0.9 -

Other goods and services

458.779 - 461.368 4.5 0.6 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

184.950 - 186.834 2.9 1.0 -

Commodities less food and beverages

163.035 - 164.508 3.6 0.9 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

206.690 - 209.755 5.5 1.5 -

Durables

113.719 - 113.229 -1.0 -0.4 -

Services

296.802 - 297.061 1.8 0.1 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

230.537 - 231.527 2.1 0.4 -

All items less shelter

222.985 - 224.979 2.1 0.9 -

Commodities less food

165.350 - 166.788 3.5 0.9 -

Nondurables

216.160 - 219.110 3.8 1.4 -

Nondurables less food

207.743 - 210.663 5.3 1.4 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

306.762 - 309.200 1.3 0.8 -

Services less medical care services

284.320 - 284.571 1.7 0.1 -

Energy

237.176 242.193 242.790 4.1 2.4 0.2

All items less energy

241.563 - 242.004 1.9 0.2 -

All items less food and energy

247.763 - 247.794 1.9 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) 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: December 3, 2012