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12-1707-PHI

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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Consumer Price Index, Pittsburgh – First Half 2012

Local Prices up 4.3 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Pittsburgh area rose 4.3 percent from the first half of 2011 to the first half of 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent 12-month advance in the all items index was largely due to an increase in the index for all items less food and energy (4.6 percent); prices also rose for food (4.5 percent) and energy (2.0 percent). The 12-month advance in the all items less food and energy index was led by higher shelter prices and the increase in the energy index was mostly due to higher prices for gasoline. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Pittsburgh, first half 2009 to first half 2012

Food

The food index rose 4.5 percent since the first half of 2011. The advance was due largely to higher prices for food at home, up 5.3 percent. Prices for food away from home also increased over the year, rising 3.5 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 2.0 percent since the first half of 2011—the smallest in a series of consecutive increases stretching back to the first half of 2010. The advance in energy prices was due mainly to higher gasoline prices, up 3.9 percent over the last 12 months. Electricity prices also rose over the year, up 2.2 percent. Partially offsetting these advances were lower prices for utility (piped) gas service, down 6.0 percent from their year-ago levels. The utility gas service index has posted uninterrupted over-the-year decreases since the first half of 2009.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 4.6 percent since a year ago. Within this grouping, price increases were led by shelter (5.6 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence (5.6 percent). Higher prices for apparel (11.0 percent—the largest over-the-year advance in 12 years) and medical care (4.5 percent), among others, also contributed to the 12-month increase in the all items less food and energy index.

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 $10.00 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 Pittsburgh, Pa., Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties.

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.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes for semiannual averages and percent changes for selected periods, Pittsburgh, PA (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
1st Half
2011
2nd Half
2011
1st Half
2012
1st Half
2011
2nd Half
2011

All items

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222.651 227.513 232.249 4.3 2.1

Food and beverages

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229.365 237.980 239.869 4.6 0.8

Food

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229.801 238.975 240.080 4.5 0.5

Food at home

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229.224 237.937 241.409 5.3 1.5

Food away from home

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232.882 242.539 241.081 3.5 -0.6

Alcoholic beverages

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222.964 224.567 237.115 6.3 5.6

Housing

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217.093 220.323 226.563 4.4 2.8

Shelter

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237.067 241.830 250.392 5.6 3.5

Rent of primary residence (1)

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205.888 209.140 218.202 6.0 4.3

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

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234.032 238.584 247.178 5.6 3.6

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

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234.032 238.584 247.178 5.6 3.6

Fuels and utilities

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241.508 247.533 247.761 2.6 0.1

Household energy

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230.295 234.914 230.781 0.2 -1.8

Energy services (1)

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218.894 223.743 217.073 -0.8 -3.0

Electricity (1)

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181.717 190.670 185.639 2.2 -2.6

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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228.191 221.827 214.419 -6.0 -3.3

Household furnishings and operations

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147.909 146.072 148.501 0.4 1.7

Apparel

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154.110 165.685 171.089 11.0 3.3

Transportation

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186.540 190.347 192.480 3.2 1.1

Private transportation

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186.970 190.973 193.043 3.2 1.1

Motor fuel

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313.151 313.447 325.673 4.0 3.9

Gasoline (all types)

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316.742 316.642 329.008 3.9 3.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

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314.252 314.293 326.652 3.9 3.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

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336.983 336.012 349.284 3.7 3.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

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303.780 304.215 315.411 3.8 3.7

Medical care

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408.278 418.992 426.743 4.5 1.8

Recreation (5)

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113.494 114.133 117.619 3.6 3.1

Education and communication (5)

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140.412 142.823 143.938 2.5 0.8

Other goods and services

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388.186 392.745 404.211 4.1 2.9

Commodity and service group

Commodities

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198.434 203.648 207.217 4.4 1.8

Commodities less food and beverages

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180.225 183.691 187.971 4.3 2.3

Nondurables less food and beverages

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232.659 239.601 247.255 6.3 3.2

Durables

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124.823 124.732 126.086 1.0 1.1

Services

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250.396 255.112 260.977 4.2 2.3

Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

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213.305 217.894 222.458 4.3 2.1

All items less shelter

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219.995 225.017 228.318 3.8 1.5

Commodities less food

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182.016 185.420 189.985 4.4 2.5

Nondurables

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231.498 239.273 243.922 5.4 1.9

Nondurables less food

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231.986 238.564 246.548 6.3 3.3

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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270.861 275.893 278.635 2.9 1.0

Services less medical care services

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238.806 243.226 248.950 4.2 2.4

Energy

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275.169 277.854 280.557 2.0 1.0

All items less energy

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219.789 224.810 229.841 4.6 2.2

All items less food and energy

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218.835 223.122 228.925 4.6 2.6

Footnotes
(1) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series converted to a geometric means estimator in January 1999.
(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.

Note: Index applies to a 6-month period as a whole, not to any specific date.