Mid-Atlantic Information Office

For release: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 PLS - 4655
Technical Information: (215) 597-3282 • BLSInfoPhiladelphia@bls.govwww.bls.gov/ro3
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South Region Consumer Price Index – March 2010 (PDF)

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the South1 rose 0.6 percent in March to a level of 211.216 (1982-84=100), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that prices advanced in all eight major categories that comprise the CPI, led by transportation, housing, and apparel. The energy index increased 3.5 percent over the month, while food costs edged up 0.2 percent. The core inflation rate, as measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose 0.3 percent over the month. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Chart 1. 1-month and 12-month percent changes ended March 2010 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the South region, not seasonally adjusted

1-month and 12-month percent changes ended March 2010 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 increased 2.5 percent, due largely to higher prices for transportation, particularly motor fuel. Energy costs in the region advanced 17.0 percent, while food prices increased 0.5 percent. Over the same period, the core inflation rate rose 1.3 percent.

Among the major categories, the transportation index increased 1.7 percent in March, dominated by a 4.7-percent advance in motor fuel costs. Costs for new and used motor vehicles inched down 0.1 percent since February. Over the year, transportation costs advanced 14.9 percent, as motor fuel prices jumped 42.7 percent and costs for new and used motor vehicles rose 5.5 percent.

The housing index rose 0.3 percent—the first over-the-month increase since June 2009. Costs for fuels and utilities increased 1.8 percent in March as a 2.9-percent advance in costs for electricity was partially offset by a 1.8-percent decrease in utility (piped) gas service prices. The shelter index, which includes rent of primary residence, lodging away from home, owners’ equivalent rent of residences, and tenants’ and household insurance, inched up 0.1 percent since February. Household furnishings and operations prices edged down 0.2 percent over the month. Since March 2009, the housing index declined 1.0 percent. Declines in prices for shelter (-0.8 percent), fuels and utilities (-2.1 percent), and household furnishings and operations (-1.7 percent) all contributed to the 12-month decrease in the housing index.

Following normal seasonal patterns, the apparel index increased 2.0 percent in March. Over the year, apparel costs declined 1.2 percent.

Medical care prices rose 0.6 percent over the month as prices for medical care services (0.7 percent) and medical care commodities (0.3 percent) both increased. Over the last 12 months, the medical care index advanced 4.1 percent as prices rose for both medical care services (4.5 percent) and medical care commodities (3.1 percent).

The food and beverages index inched up 0.1 percent in March as a 0.4-percent increase in costs for food at home was largely offset by decreases in costs for food away from home (-0.1 percent) and alcoholic beverages (-0.4 percent). Over the year, the food and beverages index advanced 0.5 percent, led by a 1.2-percent advance in prices for food away from home. Costs for alcoholic beverages inched up 0.1 percent. Prices for food at home were little changed over the year, down 0.1 percent.

Recreation prices rose 0.3 percent in March. Over the year, the recreation index declined 0.8 percent—the fifth consecutive 12-month decrease.

Prices for education and communication and other goods and services both inched up 0.1 percent since February. The education and communication index rose 2.8 percent over the last 12 months. The other goods and services index (which includes tobacco and smoking products, personal care products and services, and miscellaneous personal goods) advanced 6.3 percent since March 2009.

Population size groups

Over the month, consumer prices in the South advanced 0.6 percent in both the largest metropolitan areas, those with 1.5 million or more residents (Size Class A) and the mid-size areas, those with populations between 50,000 and 1.5 million (Size Class B/C). Prices rose 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 increased 2.0 percent in the largest areas (Size Class A). Prices rose 2.7 percent in the mid-sized areas (Size Class B/C) and advanced 3.9 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 2007-08 period. The updated expenditure weights for these indexes replace the 2005-06 weights that were introduced effective with the February 2008 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 February 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 February 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
Mar.
2010
Mar.
2009
Feb.
2010
Mar.
2010
Mar.
2009
Feb.
2010

All items

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211.216 2.5 0.6
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208.621 3.4 0.6

All items (Dec. 1977 = 100)

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342.622
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337.885

Food and beverages

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217.693 0.5 0.1
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216.436 0.5 0.1

Food

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218.348 0.5 0.2
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217.010 0.5 0.1

Food at home

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213.389 -0.1 0.4
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211.544 -0.2 0.3

Food away from home

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227.863 1.2 -0.1
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227.226 1.3 -0.1

Alcoholic beverages

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207.568 0.1 -0.4
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207.490 0.6 -0.4

Housing

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200.534 -1.0 0.3
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200.059 -0.8 0.3

Shelter

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221.938 -0.8 0.1
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221.333 -0.4 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

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223.545 0.2 0.1
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222.201 0.1 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2) (3)

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225.440 -0.3 0.0
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209.791 -0.3 0.0

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2) (3)

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225.442 -0.3 0.0
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209.795 -0.3 0.0

Fuels and utilities

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211.457 -2.1 1.8
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211.408 -2.2 1.7

Household energy

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179.940 -4.1 2.2
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178.206 -4.2 2.1

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

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180.207 -4.6 2.2
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179.368 -4.6 2.1

Electricity (1)

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174.287 -5.6 2.9
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172.372 -5.4 2.7

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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205.184 1.9 -1.8
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208.869 1.5 -1.8

Household furnishings and operations

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127.914 -1.7 -0.2
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122.827 -1.5 -0.2

Apparel

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132.865 -1.2 2.0
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132.073 -1.7 1.4

Transportation

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190.228 14.9 1.7
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188.463 17.2 1.9

Private transportation

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188.674 15.2 1.7
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187.009 17.5 1.9

New and used motor vehicles (4)

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97.274 5.5 -0.1
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95.640 8.4 0.0

New vehicles

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143.545 2.6 -0.2
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143.163 2.6 -0.1

New cars and trucks (4) (5)

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97.635 2.6 -0.2
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New cars (5)

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146.846 2.3 -0.3
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Used cars and trucks

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139.971 17.4 0.3
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140.716 17.4 0.3

Motor fuel

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236.568 42.7 4.7
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236.553 42.8 4.7

Gasoline (all types)

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236.108 43.1 4.8
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236.201 43.2 4.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

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234.987 44.3 5.0
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235.060 44.4 5.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5) (6)

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246.496 41.2 4.4
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246.549 41.2 4.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

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234.349 39.3 4.2
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234.118 39.3 4.2

Medical care

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368.944 4.1 0.6
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373.108 4.4 0.7

Medical care commodities

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300.109 3.1 0.3
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293.393 3.3 0.4

Medical care services

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391.577 4.5 0.7
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397.623 4.8 0.8

Professional services

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324.372 3.2 0.1
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326.122 3.3 0.1

Recreation (4)

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114.542 -0.8 0.3
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111.116 -0.9 0.3

Education and communication (4)

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125.227 2.8 0.1
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120.198 2.3 0.1

Other goods and services

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371.963 6.3 0.1
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395.606 8.4 0.2

Commodities

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176.472 5.4 0.8
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178.037 7.1 0.9

Services

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246.821 0.5 0.4
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245.751 0.7 0.4

All items less shelter

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208.272 4.1 0.8
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205.510 5.1 0.8

All items less medical care

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202.216 2.4 0.6
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200.615 3.4 0.6

Energy

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201.231 17.0 3.5
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201.969 18.1 3.6

All items less energy

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212.988 1.2 0.3
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209.482 1.7 0.2

All items less food and energy

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212.433 1.3 0.3
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208.108 2.0 0.3

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

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212.692 2.0 0.6
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210.613 2.7 0.6

South size B/C (50,000 to 1,500,000) (7)

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134.363 2.7 0.6
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133.388 3.7 0.6

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

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215.026 3.9 0.5
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215.205 4.6 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 for CPI-U on December 1982=100 base; CPI-W on a December 1984=100 base.
(3) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences and has been be re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(4) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(5) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(6) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(7) 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: April 15, 2010

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