Mid-Atlantic Information Office

Internet: www.bls.gov/ro3/ PLS - 4536
For Release:
Friday, May 15, 2009
Information Contact: Gerald Perrins
(215) 597-3282
Media Contact: Sheila Watkins
(215) 861-5600

SOUTH REGION CONSUMER PRICE INDEX: APRIL 2009 (PDF)

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the South1 increased 0.3 percent in April to 206.657 (1982-84=100), the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the increase was predominantly due to higher prices for transportation, other goods and services, and apparel, while lower costs for food and beverages and housing helped moderate the overall increase in the CPI. The energy index increased 1.8 percent over the month, while food costs declined 0.3 percent. The core inflation rate, as measured by the all items less food and energy index, was 0.3 percent during the month.

Chart A. 1-month and 12-month percent changes ended April 2009 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the South region, not seasonally adjusted

1-month and 12-month percent changes ended April 2009 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the South region, not seasonally adjusted

chart data

Over the last 12 months, prices in the South decreased 0.7 percent, as a sharp decline in transportation costs was partially offset by increases in the remaining categories. Energy costs in the region declined 24.0 percent, while food prices increased 3.7 percent since last April. Over the same period, the core inflation rate was 2.1 percent.

Among the major categories, the transportation index increased 1.5 percent during April, as motor fuel costs advanced 5.8 percent. Over the year, transportation costs decreased 15.1 percent, dominated by a 40.6-percent drop in motor fuel prices. This was the sixth consecutive over-the-year decline in the transportation index and the largest 12-month decrease since the series inception in December 1966.

The other goods and services index (which includes tobacco and smoking products, personal care products and services, and miscellaneous personal goods) rose 3.2 percent in April as an increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes went into effect. Over the year, the other goods and services index advanced 8.6 percent; the largest 12-month percent increase since November 1999.

Apparel costs increased 0.8 percent over the month, reflecting normal seasonal patterns. Prices for apparel also rose 0.8 percent over the year.

The index for medical care increased 0.4 percent over the month, as costs rose 0.3 percent for medical care services and 0.4 percent for medical care commodities. Over the year, the medical care index advanced 2.2 percent, as prices increased for both medical care services (2.4 percent) and medical care commodities (1.9 percent).

The recreation index edged up 0.2 percent over the month. Over the year, the recreation index increased 2.0 percent. Prices for education and communication remained unchanged over the month; since April 2008, this index increased 3.2 percent.

The two remaining major categories declined over the month. The food and beverages index decreased 0.3 percent in April—the third consecutive monthly decline and the largest since May 2002. Costs for food at home (-0.8 percent) and alcoholic beverages (-0.4 percent) were both lower over the month, while a 0.2-percent increase in costs for food away from home partially offset these decreases. Over the year, the food and beverages index advanced 3.6 percent, as prices for food away from home and food at home rose 4.9 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. Since April 2008 alcoholic beverages costs increased 2.9 percent.

The index for housing was little changed over the month, down 0.1 percent. The fuels and utilities index declined 1.1 percent in April, as costs for household energy decreased 1.4 percent. The shelter index, which includes rent of primary residence, lodging away from home, owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence, and tenants’ and household insurance, inched up 0.1 percent since March. Household furnishings and operations costs were unchanged over the month. Since April 2008, the housing index rose 2.0 percent in the South, as prices for all three components increased. Shelter prices advanced 2.0 percent; household furnishings and operations, 2.5 percent; and fuels and utilities, 1.7 percent over the year.

Population size groups

Over the month, consumer prices in the South edged up 0.2 percent in the largest metropolitan areas, those with 1.5 million or more residents (Size Class A). Prices increased 0.4 percent in the mid-size areas, those with populations between 50,000 and 1.5 million (Size Class B/C), and advanced 0.5 percent in the smallest areas, those with populations of less than 50,000 (Size Class D). Over the past 12 months, consumer prices in the South decreased 0.5 percent in the largest areas (Size Class A), fell 0.9 percent in the mid-sized areas (Size Class B/C), and declined 0.4 percent in the smallest areas (Size Class D).

Technical Note

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has updated the consumption expenditure weights in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to the 2005-06 period. The updated expenditure weights for these indexes replace the 2003-2004 weights that were introduced effective with the January 2006 CPI release. As originally announced by BLS in December 1998, CPI expenditure weights will continue to be updated at two year intervals.

The CPI program completed its conversion to Computer Assisted Data Collection (CADC). Due to the efficiencies gained from conversion to CADC, BLS has extended data collection to cover the entire month, beginning with data for January 2004. CPI data collection is scheduled in terms of business days – weekdays excluding holidays. Formerly, data collection covered three pricing periods, each comprising six business days in most months and five days in November and December. Consequently, the last day of scheduled data collection was usually the 18th business day of the month. This allowed time during the end of the month for the mailing of paper schedules back to the Washington Office and the data entry of the information in these schedules. Starting in January 2004, the three pricing periods now have variable lengths, between six and eight business days long. The third pricing period normally will end on the last business day of the month.

Local area CPI indexes are by-products of the national CPI program. Because each local index is a small subset of the national index, it has a smaller sample size and is, therefore, subject to substantially more sampling and measurement error than the national index, although their long-term trends are quite similar. The Bureau of Labor Statistics strongly urges users to consider adopting the national average CPI for use in escalator clauses.

We encourage users interested in learning more about changes to the CPI to contact the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Information on the Consumer Price Index and other surveys are available on our Web site at www.bls.gov. Current and historical BLS data are also posted on our Web site at www.bls.gov/ro3/. If you have additional questions, you can contact the Mid-Atlantic information office directly by dialing (215) 597-3282. Information from the Consumer Price Index program is available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Services: 1-800-877-8339.

1 South includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers and Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, South Region, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Item and group All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)
Urban Wage Earners and
Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
Historical
data
Index Percent change from
Historical
data
Index Percent change from
Apr.
2009
Apr.
2008
Mar.
2009
Apr.
2009
Apr.
2008
Mar.
2009

All items

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206.657 -0.7 0.3
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202.619 -1.5 0.4

All items (Dec. 1977 = 100)

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335.227

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328.164

Food and beverages

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215.991 3.6 -0.3
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214.782 3.7 -0.3

Food

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216.593 3.7 -0.3
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215.399 3.7 -0.3

Food at home

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212.018 2.6 -0.8
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210.480 2.6 -0.7

Food away from home

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225.727 4.9 0.2
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224.958 5.0 0.3

Alcoholic beverages

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206.543 2.9 -0.4
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205.115 3.2 -0.6

Housing

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202.447 2.0 -0.1
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201.394 2.2 -0.1

Shelter

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223.774 2.0 0.1
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222.370 2.2 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

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223.467 2.9 0.1
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222.306 2.7 0.1

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

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226.486 2.4 0.2
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210.879 2.3 0.2

Fuels and utilities

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213.558 1.7 -1.1
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213.649 2.2 -1.2

Household energy

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184.898 0.6 -1.4
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183.281 1.3 -1.5

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

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186.241 1.7 -1.4
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185.241 2.0 -1.4

Electricity (1)

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182.551 7.0 -1.2
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180.138 6.8 -1.1

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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195.643 -22.0 -2.9
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198.319 -22.6 -3.6

Household furnishings and operations

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130.147 2.5 0.0
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124.736 2.4 0.0

Apparel

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135.499 0.8 0.8
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135.304 0.5 0.7

Transportation

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168.055 -15.1 1.5
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163.503 -17.2 1.7

Private transportation

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166.173 -15.5 1.5
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161.815 -17.5 1.7

New and used motor vehicles (3)

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92.163 -2.2 0.0
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88.307 -4.9 0.1

New vehicles

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139.638 0.8 -0.2
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139.392 0.8 -0.1

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

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94.989 0.8 -0.2
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New cars (4)

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142.853 1.3 -0.5
Jump to page with historical data

Used cars and trucks

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119.653 -11.8 0.3
Jump to page with historical data
120.295 -11.8 0.3

Motor fuel

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175.307 -40.6 5.8
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175.193 -40.7 5.7

Gasoline (all types)

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174.632 -40.4 5.8
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174.590 -40.4 5.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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172.557 -41.1 6.0
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172.496 -41.2 5.9

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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184.309 -39.2 5.6
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184.223 -39.3 5.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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177.523 -37.8 5.5
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177.289 -37.9 5.5

Medical care

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355.645 2.2 0.4
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358.758 2.3 0.4

Medical care commodities

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292.120 1.9 0.4
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285.207 2.0 0.4

Medical care services

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376.106 2.4 0.3
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380.905 2.5 0.4

Professional services

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314.210 2.8 0.0
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315.696 2.9 0.0

Recreation (3)

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115.758 2.0 0.2
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112.471 2.0 0.3

Education and communication (3)

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121.824 3.2 0.0
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117.469 2.6 0.0

Other goods and services

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360.977 8.6 3.2
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380.711 11.3 4.3

Commodities

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168.666 -4.9 0.8
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167.960 -6.5 1.0

Services

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245.500 2.4 0.0
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244.032 2.6 0.0

All items less shelter

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200.969 -1.9 0.4
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196.717 -3.0 0.6

All items less medical care

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198.065 -0.9 0.3
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194.953 -1.7 0.4

Energy

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175.070 -24.0 1.8
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174.363 -24.8 1.9

All items less energy

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210.915 2.3 0.2
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206.509 2.3 0.3

All items less food and energy

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210.296 2.1 0.3
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204.881 2.0 0.4

South size A (more than 1,500,000)

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208.934 -0.5 0.2
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205.733 -1.3 0.3

South size B/C (50,000 to 1,500,000) (6)

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131.370 -0.9 0.4
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129.309 -1.6 0.5

South size D (nonmetropolitan, less than 50,000)

Jump to page with historical data
207.898 -0.4 0.5
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206.921 -1.3 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 for CPI-U on December 1982=100 base; CPI-W on a December 1984=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) Indexes on a December 1996=100 base.

South region includes the District of Columbia and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia.

Last Modified Date: September 23, 2009

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