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13-1696-PHI

Thursday, August 15, 2013

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Consumer Price Index, Pittsburgh – First Half 2013

Local Prices up 1.6 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Pittsburgh area rose 1.6 percent from the first half of 2012 to the first half of 2013, 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 due mostly to an increase in the index for all items less food and energy (1.8 percent). The food index also rose over the year, up 2.3 percent, while the energy index declined, down 1.0 percent. The 12-month advance in the all items less food and energy index was led by higher prices for shelter, particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Pittsburgh, first half 2010 to first half 2013

Food

The food index rose 2.3 percent since the first half of 2012. The 12-month advance was due to higher prices for food at home and food away from home, up 1.9 and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, fell 1.0 percent since the first half of 2012. The decline in energy prices was due to over-the-year decreases in prices for electricity and gasoline, down 2.9 and 1.1 percent, respectively. Moderating the decline in the energy index were higher prices for utility (piped) gas service, up 3.7 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.8 percent since a year ago. Within this grouping, price increases were led by shelter (2.3 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (1.9 percent). Since the first half of 2012, prices were also higher for medical care (6.9 percent) and recreation (4.4 percent), among others. Moderating the 12-month increase in the all items less food and energy index were lower prices for apparel, down 9.8 percent—the largest over-the-year decline since the inception of the index in 1984.

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; Federal Relay Service: 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
2012
2nd Half
2012
1st Half
2013
1st Half
2012
2nd Half
2012

All items

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232.249 233.539 236.009 1.6 1.1

Food and beverages

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239.869 242.311 245.537 2.4 1.3

Food

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240.080 242.596 245.544 2.3 1.2

Food at home

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241.409 243.558 245.889 1.9 1.0

Food away from home

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241.081 242.746 246.129 2.1 1.4

Alcoholic beverages

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237.115 238.585 245.565 3.6 2.9

Housing

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226.563 227.516 230.757 1.9 1.4

Shelter

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250.392 252.216 256.126 2.3 1.6

Rent of primary residence (1)

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218.202 219.202 223.714 2.5 2.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1)

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247.178 248.942 251.995 1.9 1.2

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

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247.178 248.942 251.995 1.9 1.2

Fuels and utilities

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247.761 243.622 245.773 -0.8 0.9

Household energy

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230.781 224.903 228.706 -0.9 1.7

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

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217.073 211.627 215.899 -0.5 2.0

Electricity (1)

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185.639 182.365 180.323 -2.9 -1.1

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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214.419 206.113 222.377 3.7 7.9

Household furnishings and operations

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148.501 149.426 150.883 1.6 1.0

Apparel

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171.089 161.693 154.324 -9.8 -4.6

Transportation

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192.480 192.914 194.236 0.9 0.7

Private transportation

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193.043 193.029 192.622 -0.2 -0.2

Motor fuel

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325.673 325.313 321.908 -1.2 -1.0

Gasoline (all types)

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329.008 328.844 325.338 -1.1 -1.1

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

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326.652 325.621 323.095 -1.1 -0.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

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349.284 351.524 345.930 -1.0 -1.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

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315.411 316.277 310.041 -1.7 -2.0

Medical care

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426.743 444.638 456.228 6.9 2.6

Recreation (5)

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117.619 119.554 122.800 4.4 2.7

Education and communication (5)

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143.938 145.290 145.332 1.0 0.0

Other goods and services

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404.211 402.227 401.714 -0.6 -0.1

Commodity and service group

Commodities

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207.217 207.173 207.164 0.0 0.0

Commodities less food and beverages

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187.971 186.739 185.181 -1.5 -0.8

Nondurables less food and beverages

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247.255 244.507 241.027 -2.5 -1.4

Durables

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126.086 126.143 126.216 0.1 0.1

Services

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260.977 263.537 268.368 2.8 1.8

Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

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222.458 223.159 225.282 1.3 1.0

All items less shelter

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228.318 229.370 231.297 1.3 0.8

Commodities less food

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189.985 188.836 187.548 -1.3 -0.7

Nondurables

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243.922 243.817 243.758 -0.1 0.0

Nondurables less food

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246.548 244.081 241.303 -2.1 -1.1

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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278.635 281.958 287.855 3.3 2.1

Services less medical care services

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248.950 250.540 254.592 2.3 1.6

Energy

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280.557 276.997 277.657 -1.0 0.2

All items less energy

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229.841 231.468 234.146 1.9 1.2

All items less food and energy

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228.925 230.391 233.029 1.8 1.1

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 month as a whole, not to any specific date.