For release: Thursday, March 17, 2011 PLS - 4766
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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia–Wilmington–Atlantic City – February 2011 (PDF)

Area Prices Rose 1.3 Percent Since December and 1.9 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City area rose 1.3 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 reflected higher prices in the indexes for all items less food and energy (0.8 percent), energy (3.7 percent), and food (2.2 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 1.9 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since February 2010, energy prices advanced 9.2 percent. The indexes for both all items less food and energy and food also increased over the year, up 1.0 and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Philadelphia–Wilmington–Atlantic City, February 2008 to February 2011 (not seasonally adjusted)
12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Philadelphia–Wilmington–Atlantic City, February 2008 to February 2011 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

Food prices increased 2.2 percent from December to February—the largest bimonthly advance since February 2007. The recent increase reflected higher prices for both food at home (3.2 percent) and food away from home (0.9 percent). Higher prices for juices and nonalcoholic drinks and meats led the two-month increase in the food at home component.

Since February 2010, the food index rose 2.7 percent. Both components of the food index had price increases over the year—prices for food at home advanced 3.4 percent and those for food away from home, 1.8 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 3.7 percent since December, led by a 3.6-percent advance in gasoline prices. Over the last two months, prices also rose for electricity and utility (piped) gas service, up 3.0 and 1.3 percent, respectively.

The energy index advanced 9.2 percent since last February, due almost entirely to an 18.0-percent jump in gasoline prices. Higher prices for electricity (0.9 percent) also contributed to the 12-month rise in the energy index. Partially offsetting these advances, the index for utility (piped) gas service—which has not recorded an over-the-year advance since February 2009—declined 5.8 percent over the year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.8 percent from December to February, led by higher prices for apparel (5.8 percent) and recreation (2.5 percent). Moderating the overall advance in the all items less food and energy index were lower prices for education and communication, down 0.4 percent.

Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.0 percent. Higher prices for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.9 percent) and medical care (3.2 percent) led the 12-month advance. Partially offsetting these increases, prices for education and communication fell 1.3 percent—the first over-the-year decrease for this category since December 1998.

The April 2011 Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City is scheduled to be released on May 13, 2011, 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 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
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

2.0 4.4 0.7 2.0 0.9 3.7 1.0 -0.3 0.8 2.8 1.3 1.9

April

1.2 4.1 1.0 1.7 1.2 3.9 0.6 -0.9 0.4 2.6    

June

1.1 4.4 0.9 1.6 2.1 5.1 1.0 -2.0 0.3 1.9    

August

1.2 4.7 0.7 1.1 0.0 4.4 1.0 -1.0 0.2 1.1    

October

-2.2 2.0 0.1 3.5 -1.4 2.8 -0.6 -0.1 0.0 1.7    

December

0.0 3.3 0.0 3.5 -3.1 -0.4 0.0 3.0 -0.2 1.4    

 

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 87 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 32 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 25,000 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; TDD message referral phone number:  1-800-877-8339.

For personal assistance or further information on Consumer Price Indexes, as well as other Bureau products, contact the Mid-Atlantic Information Office at (215) 597-3282 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.

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. 2010 Jan. 2011 Feb. 2011 Feb. 2010 Dec. 2010 Jan. 2011

All items

228.017 - 230.878 1.9 1.3 -

Food and beverages

209.259 - 213.471 2.8 2.0 -

Food

208.626 - 213.273 2.7 2.2 -

Food at home

217.951 220.220 224.939 3.4 3.2 2.1

Food away from home

190.714 - 192.522 1.8 0.9 -

Alcoholic beverages

214.975 - 213.613 3.4 -0.6 -

Housing

233.839 - 235.545 0.6 0.7 -

Shelter

280.837 280.833 281.663 0.2 0.3 0.3

Rent of primary residence (1)

260.036 260.200 260.697 0.2 0.3 0.2

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

290.762 291.293 292.138 0.9 0.5 0.3

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

290.762 291.293 292.138 0.9 0.5 0.3

Fuels and utilities

210.212 - 217.562 3.2 3.5 -

Household energy

184.622 188.757 191.627 1.7 3.8 1.5

Energy services (1) (3)

195.204 198.379 200.135 -1.0 2.5 0.9

Electricity (1)

196.535 199.981 202.374 0.9 3.0 1.2

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

187.030 189.437 189.530 -5.8 1.3 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

119.711 - 120.237 0.1 0.4 -

Apparel

99.632 - 105.392 -0.2 5.8 -

Transportation

202.078 - 205.597 7.4 1.7 -

Private transportation

199.950 - 203.372 7.3 1.7 -

Motor fuel

268.022 276.702 277.741 18.1 3.6 0.4

Gasoline (all types)

264.148 272.704 273.630 18.0 3.6 0.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

264.552 273.278 274.164 18.5 3.6 0.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

257.115 264.940 265.975 16.4 3.4 0.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

248.532 255.820 256.890 15.9 3.4 0.4

Medical care

436.786 - 441.710 3.2 1.1 -

Recreation (6)

119.002 - 121.985 1.4 2.5 -

Education and communication (6)

128.973 - 128.409 -1.3 -0.4 -

Other goods and services

421.299 - 424.269 1.1 0.7 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

172.016 - 176.147 4.0 2.4 -

Commodities less food and beverages

149.763 - 153.674 4.7 2.6 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

184.186 - 191.105 7.0 3.8 -

Durables

111.447 - 112.041 0.8 0.5 -

Services

286.000 - 287.839 0.8 0.6 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care

219.221 - 221.989 1.8 1.3 -

All items less shelter

211.682 - 215.435 2.8 1.8 -

Commodities less food

152.182 - 155.963 4.7 2.5 -

Nondurables

198.343 - 204.217 5.0 3.0 -

Nondurables less food

185.945 - 192.447 6.8 3.5 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

298.205 - 301.303 1.4 1.0 -

Services less medical care services

274.172 - 275.880 0.7 0.6 -

Energy

215.224 221.100 223.212 9.2 3.7 1.0

All items less energy

231.122 - 233.431 1.2 1.0 -

All items less food and energy

237.331 - 239.286 1.0 0.8 -

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) This index series was formerly titled Gas (piped) and electricity.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) 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: March 18, 2011