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12-982-PHI

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City –
April 2012

Area Prices Increase 0.8 Percent Since February and 2.0 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City area rose 0.8 percent from February to April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent increase was due to advances in the energy index and the all items less food and energy index, up 4.0 and 0.5 percent, respectively. The food index was unchanged since February. (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 2.0 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The all items less food and energy index advanced 2.0 percent since April 2011. The food index also increased, up 3.2 percent over the year, as did the energy index, up 0.5 percent. (See table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, April 2009 to April 2012 (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

Following a 0.2-percent increase from December to February, food prices were unchanged over the last two months. Prices for food at home inched up 0.1 percent while those for food away from home inched down 0.1 percent since February. Within the food at home component, higher prices for various items including beef and veal were nearly offset by lower prices for cereals and bakery products, among others.

Over the year, the food index advanced 3.2 percent. Both components of the food index had price increases over the last 12 months—prices for food at home rose 3.8 percent and those for food away from home, 2.4 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 4.0 percent from February to April due to higher prices for gasoline, up 9.0 percent over the two-month period. Moderating the recent rise in the energy index were lower prices for utility (piped) gas service and electricity, down 2.5 and 0.5 percent, respectively.

The energy index rose 0.5 percent since last April, reflecting a 3.7-percent price advance for the gasoline component. The electricity component also posted higher prices over the last 12 months, edging up 0.3 percent. Prices for utility (piped) gas service—which has recorded uninterrupted 12-month declines for over three years—fell 8.9 percent over the year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.5 percent from February to April. The two-month rise was led by higher prices for shelter (0.6 percent), particularly those for owners’ equivalent rent of residences (0.5 percent). Moderating the overall rise were decreases in various indexes led by recreation, down 0.6 percent since February.

Since last April, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.0 percent, due largely to higher prices for shelter (2.7 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (3.0 percent). Price increases were widespread among the other components of the all items less food and energy group including the apparel index, up 7.4 percent, while a 2.5-percent decline in the education and communication index helped to moderate the overall advance since April 2011.

The June 2012 Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City is scheduled to be released July 17, 2012, 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 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
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

0.7 2.0 0.9 3.7 1.0 -0.3 0.8 2.8 1.3 1.9 0.7 2.2

April

1.0 1.7 1.2 3.9 0.6 -0.9 0.4 2.6 1.0 2.5 0.8 2.0

June

0.9 1.6 2.1 5.1 1.0 -2.0 0.3 1.9 0.6 2.8    

August

0.7 1.1 0.0 4.4 1.0 -1.0 0.2 1.1 0.7 3.4    

October

0.1 3.5 -1.4 2.8 -0.6 -0.1 0.0 1.7 -0.3 3.0    

December

0.0 3.5 -3.1 -0.4 0.0 3.0 -0.2 1.4 -0.5 2.8    

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 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-
Feb. 2012 Mar. 2012 Apr. 2012 Apr. 2011 Feb. 2012 Mar. 2012

All items

235.857 - 237.782 2.0 0.8 -

Food and beverages

219.017 - 218.974 3.0 0.0 -

Food

218.637 - 218.642 3.2 0.0 -

Food at home

230.327 230.690 230.528 3.8 0.1 -0.1

Food away from home

197.675 - 197.422 2.4 -0.1 -

Alcoholic beverages

221.588 - 220.862 1.4 -0.3 -

Housing

240.490 - 241.358 2.2 0.4 -

Shelter

287.859 287.843 289.574 2.7 0.6 0.6

Rent of primary residence (1)

267.449 267.040 267.613 3.1 0.1 0.2

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

297.667 297.758 299.048 3.0 0.5 0.4

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

297.667 297.758 299.048 3.0 0.5 0.4

Fuels and utilities

219.789 - 218.525 -0.8 -0.6 -

Household energy

192.338 191.199 191.221 -1.5 -0.6 0.0

Energy services (1)

197.608 194.834 195.411 -2.3 -1.1 0.3

Electricity (1)

201.791 199.467 200.731 0.3 -0.5 0.6

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

181.921 178.257 177.314 -8.9 -2.5 -0.5

Household furnishings and operations

123.800 - 123.481 1.9 -0.3 -

Apparel

110.703 - 112.203 7.4 1.4 -

Transportation

214.810 - 223.210 2.4 3.9 -

Private transportation

212.995 - 221.269 2.4 3.9 -

Motor fuel

315.263 331.237 343.017 3.6 8.8 3.6

Gasoline (all types)

310.763 326.722 338.598 3.7 9.0 3.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

311.802 327.855 339.866 3.7 9.0 3.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

300.875 316.316 327.735 3.8 8.9 3.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

289.463 303.992 314.338 3.5 8.6 3.4

Medical care

441.300 - 445.985 0.7 1.1 -

Recreation (5)

124.920 - 124.113 1.7 -0.6 -

Education and communication (5)

124.012 - 123.962 -2.5 0.0 -

Other goods and services

442.644 - 442.927 3.1 0.1 -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

182.932 - 185.698 2.6 1.5 -

Commodities less food and beverages

160.788 - 164.640 2.6 2.4 -

Nondurables less food and beverages

202.355 - 208.647 2.8 3.1 -

Durables

114.033 - 114.934 1.5 0.8 -

Services

291.507 - 292.808 1.7 0.4 -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care

227.085 - 228.902 2.1 0.8 -

All items less shelter

220.042 - 222.107 1.6 0.9 -

Commodities less food

163.135 - 166.881 2.6 2.3 -

Nondurables

213.097 - 216.692 2.8 1.7 -

Nondurables less food

203.576 - 209.544 2.8 2.9 -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

301.933 - 302.736 0.5 0.3 -

Services less medical care services

279.366 - 280.471 1.6 0.4 -

Energy

237.601 242.774 247.134 0.5 4.0 1.8

All items less energy

237.350 - 238.392 2.1 0.4 -

All items less food and energy

243.017 - 244.246 2.0 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 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.
- Data not available.
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

 

 

Last Modified Date: May 16, 2012