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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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

Area Prices Down 0.9 Percent Since October; Up 1.8 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City area decreased 0.9 percent from October to December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent decline was due to decreases in the energy and all items less food and energy indexes, down 4.5 and 0.5 percent, respectively. The food index was nearly unchanged since October, inching up 0.1 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 1.8 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Similarly, the all items less food and energy index advanced 1.8 percent since December 2011. The food index and the energy index also increased over the year, up 2.2 and 1.3 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

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

Food

Food prices inched up 0.1 percent over the last two months as higher prices for food away from home (0.5 percent) were nearly offset by lower prices for food at home (-0.2 percent). Within the food at home component, higher prices for various items such as other fresh vegetables and chicken were moderated by price decreases for pork and citrus fruits, among others.

Over the year, the food index advanced 2.2 percent. Both components of the food index had price increases since December 2011—prices for food at home rose 2.8 percent and those for food away from home, 1.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, fell 4.5 percent from October to December. The recent decrease was due almost entirely to lower prices for gasoline, which dropped 9.2 percent over the last two months. Electricity prices also declined since October, edging down 0.2 percent. Moderating the two-month decline in the energy index were higher prices for utility (piped) gas service, up 1.8 percent.

The energy index rose 1.3 percent since last December due to a 5.6-percent advance in gasoline prices. Prices for electricity fell over the year, down 2.0 percent. The utility (piped) gas service component—which has recorded uninterrupted 12-month declines for nearly four years—also posted lower prices over the last 12 months, down 3.9 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy declined 0.5 percent from October to December. The two-month decrease was led by a slightly larger-than-usual seasonal decline in apparel prices (-11.9 percent). Prices were also lower for shelter (-0.1 percent), particularly lodging away from home, since October. Partially offsetting these two-month decreases were higher prices for recreation (0.3 percent) and alcoholic beverages (1.1 percent).

Since last December, the index for all items less food and energy increased 1.8 percent, due largely to higher prices for shelter (1.9 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 other goods and services (4.7 percent), education and communication (2.2 percent), and medical care (2.4 percent). A 1.8-percent decline in recreation prices and a 1.4-percent decrease in household furnishings and operations prices moderated the advance in the all items less food and energy index since December 2011.

The February 2013 Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City is scheduled to be released March 15, 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 -0.9 1.8

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-
Oct. 2012 Nov. 2012 Dec. 2012 Dec. 2011 Oct. 2012 Nov. 2012

All items

240.537 - 238.492 1.8 -0.9 -

Food and beverages

223.003 - 223.306 2.2 0.1 -

Food

222.853 - 223.009 2.2 0.1 -

Food at home

236.866 236.946 236.344 2.8 -0.2 -0.3

Food away from home

198.746 - 199.783 1.2 0.5 -

Alcoholic beverages

222.177 - 224.614 2.2 1.1 -

Housing

242.880 - 242.528 1.1 -0.1 -

Shelter

292.228 291.684 291.868 1.9 -0.1 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

271.854 272.088 272.586 2.0 0.3 0.2

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

300.618 300.928 301.180 1.8 0.2 0.1

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

300.618 300.928 301.180 1.8 0.2 0.1

Fuels and utilities

217.967 - 218.536 -1.6 0.3 -

Household energy

190.373 189.783 190.687 -2.3 0.2 0.5

Energy services (1)

196.278 196.143 197.033 -2.6 0.4 0.5

Electricity (1)

203.297 202.867 202.940 -2.0 -0.2 0.0

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

174.449 174.962 177.605 -3.9 1.8 1.5

Household furnishings and operations

122.720 - 121.351 -1.4 -1.1 -

Apparel

119.287 - 105.061 3.0 -11.9 -

Transportation

223.280 - 217.900 3.4 -2.4 -

Private transportation

222.309 - 216.283 3.7 -2.7 -

Motor fuel

332.691 316.587 302.541 5.5 -9.1 -4.4

Gasoline (all types)

328.345 312.169 298.083 5.6 -9.2 -4.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

328.654 312.202 298.002 5.5 -9.3 -4.5

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

321.275 306.270 292.537 5.8 -8.9 -4.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

308.689 294.808 282.381 6.3 -8.5 -4.2

Medical care

451.946 - 451.271 2.4 -0.1 -

Recreation (5)

123.282 - 123.653 -1.8 0.3 -

Education and communication (5)

127.586 - 127.188 2.2 -0.3 -

Other goods and services

461.368 - 461.554 4.7 0.0 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

186.834 - 181.400 1.3 -2.9 -

Commodities less food and beverages

164.508 - 156.849 0.9 -4.7 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

209.755 - 197.169 2.4 -6.0 -

Durables

113.229 - 111.529 -2.5 -1.5 -

Services

297.061 - 297.792 2.0 0.2 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

231.527 - 229.451 1.7 -0.9 -

All items less shelter

224.979 - 222.162 1.7 -1.3 -

Commodities less food

166.788 - 159.364 0.9 -4.5 -

Nondurables

219.110 - 212.015 2.3 -3.2 -

Nondurables less food

210.663 - 198.770 2.4 -5.6 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

309.200 - 311.241 2.2 0.7 -

Services less medical care services

284.571 - 285.329 1.9 0.3 -

Energy

242.790 236.477 231.866 1.3 -4.5 -1.9

All items less energy

242.004 - 240.990 1.8 -0.4 -

All items less food and energy

247.794 - 246.571 1.8 -0.5 -

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: January 16, 2013