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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City –
February 2013

Area Prices Up 0.7 Percent Since December and 1.8 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City area increased 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 advance was due almost entirely to increases in the all items less food and energy and the energy indexes, up 0.6 and 2.1 percent, respectively. The food index was also higher since December, 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.) The rise was due largely to a 2.1-percent advance in the all items less food and energy index since February 2012. The food index also increased, up 2.1 percent, while the energy index declined over the year, edging down 0.3 percent. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, February 2010 to February 2013 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

Following an identical increase from October to December, food prices inched up 0.1 percent over the last two months. Higher prices for food away from home (0.9 percent) were nearly offset by lower prices for food at home (-0.5 percent). Within the food at home component, price decreases for chicken and milk, among others, were moderated by higher prices for various items such as lettuce and pork.

Over the year, the food index advanced 2.1 percent. Both components of the food index had price increases since February 2012—prices for food at home rose 2.1 percent and those for food away from home, 2.0 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 2.1 percent from December to February. The recent increase was due almost entirely to higher prices for gasoline, which jumped 7.4 percent over the last two months. Moderating the decrease in the energy index were declines of 5.3 percent in electricity prices and 0.5 percent in utility (piped) gas service prices since December.

The energy index edged down 0.3 percent since last February. The decline primarily reflected lower prices for electricity, down 4.7 percent. The utility (piped) gas service component—which has recorded uninterrupted 12-month declines for four years—also posted lower prices over the last 12 months, down 2.8 percent. Moderating the overall decline were higher gasoline prices, up 3.0 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.6 percent from December to February. The two-month rise was led by an increase in education and communication prices of 2.5 percent—the largest since August 2005. Bimonthly price increases were widespread among other components of the all items less food and energy group including a smaller-than-usual seasonal advance in the apparel index, up 3.7 percent, and a 1.0-percent rise in the medical care index.

Since last February, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.1 percent. The advance was due largely to higher prices for shelter, up 1.4 percent, and education and communication, up 5.1 percent, which was this index’s largest 12-month increase since its inception in December 1997. Prices also increased for other components including medical care (3.2 percent) and other goods and services (4.4 percent). Declines in prices for a few components including household furnishings and operations (-1.7 percent), recreation (-1.0 percent), and apparel (-1.6 percent) moderated the advance in the all items less food and energy index since February 2012.

The April 2013 Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City is scheduled to be released May 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 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
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

0.9 3.7 1.0 -0.3 0.8 2.8 1.3 1.9 0.7 2.2 0.7 1.8

April

1.2 3.9 0.6 -0.9 0.4 2.6 1.0 2.5 0.8 2.0

June

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

August

0.0 4.4 1.0 -1.0 0.2 1.1 0.7 3.4 0.9 1.4

October

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

December

-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-
Dec. 2012 Jan. 2013 Feb. 2013 Feb. 2012 Dec. 2012 Jan. 2013

All items

238.492 - 240.137 1.8 0.7 -

Food and beverages

223.306 - 223.422 2.0 0.1 -

Food

223.009 - 223.148 2.1 0.1 -

Food at home

236.344 234.922 235.204 2.1 -0.5 0.1

Food away from home

199.783 - 201.588 2.0 0.9 -

Alcoholic beverages

224.614 - 224.404 1.3 -0.1 -

Housing

242.528 - 241.940 0.6 -0.2 -

Shelter

291.868 291.495 292.020 1.4 0.1 0.2

Rent of primary residence (1)

272.586 272.320 272.691 2.0 0.0 0.1

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

301.180 300.539 300.876 1.1 -0.1 0.1

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

301.180 300.539 300.876 1.1 -0.1 0.1

Fuels and utilities

218.536 - 213.849 -2.7 -2.1 -

Household energy

190.687 184.516 185.607 -3.5 -2.7 0.6

Energy services (1)

197.033 188.797 189.376 -4.2 -3.9 0.3

Electricity (1)

202.940 191.505 192.259 -4.7 -5.3 0.4

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

177.605 176.617 176.793 -2.8 -0.5 0.1

Household furnishings and operations

121.351 - 121.684 -1.7 0.3 -

Apparel

105.061 - 108.964 -1.6 3.7 -

Transportation

217.900 - 224.144 4.3 2.9 -

Private transportation

216.283 - 222.620 4.5 2.9 -

Motor fuel

302.541 302.974 324.553 2.9 7.3 7.1

Gasoline (all types)

298.083 298.518 320.216 3.0 7.4 7.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

298.002 298.352 320.502 2.8 7.6 7.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

292.537 293.913 312.579 3.9 6.9 6.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

282.381 282.432 302.052 4.3 7.0 6.9

Medical care

451.271 - 455.573 3.2 1.0 -

Recreation (5)

123.653 - 123.694 -1.0 0.0 -

Education and communication (5)

127.188 - 130.315 5.1 2.5 -

Other goods and services

461.554 - 461.944 4.4 0.1 -
Commodity and service group

Commodities

181.400 - 184.386 0.8 1.6 -

Commodities less food and beverages

156.849 - 160.938 0.1 2.6 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

197.169 - 204.364 1.0 3.6 -

Durables

111.529 - 111.835 -1.9 0.3 -

Services

297.792 - 298.378 2.4 0.2 -
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

229.451 - 230.994 1.7 0.7 -

All items less shelter

222.162 - 224.487 2.0 1.0 -

Commodities less food

159.364 - 163.357 0.1 2.5 -

Nondurables

212.015 - 216.199 1.5 2.0 -

Nondurables less food

198.770 - 205.625 1.0 3.4 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

311.241 - 312.376 3.5 0.4 -

Services less medical care services

285.329 - 285.830 2.3 0.2 -

Energy

231.866 228.134 236.782 -0.3 2.1 3.8

All items less energy

240.990 - 242.262 2.1 0.5 -

All items less food and energy

246.571 - 248.049 2.1 0.6 -

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: April 18, 2013

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