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Thursday, February 20, 2014

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Consumer Price Index, Pittsburgh – Second Half 2013

Local Prices up 0.9 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Pittsburgh area rose 0.9 percent from the second half of 2012 to the second 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 (1.7 percent). The food index also rose over the year, up 0.6 percent, while the energy index declined, down 4.6 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, second half 2010 to second half 2013

Food

The food index rose 0.6 percent since the second half of 2012. The advance was due to higher prices for food away from home, up 3.2 percent. Prices for food at home declined over the year, down 0.7 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, fell 4.6 percent since the second half of 2012. The decline in energy prices was due to over-the-year decreases in prices for electricity and gasoline, down 13.1 and 4.7 percent, respectively. Partially offsetting the decline in the energy index were higher prices for utility (piped) gas service, up 9.7 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent over the year. Within this grouping, price increases were led by shelter (2.2 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of residences (1.9 percent). Since the second half of 2012, prices were also higher for medical care (4.1 percent) and recreation (3.6 percent), among others. Moderating the 12-month increase in the all items less food and energy index were lower prices for apparel, down 3.6 percent.

 

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
2nd Half
2012
1st Half
2013
2nd Half
2013
2nd Half
2012
1st Half
2013

All items

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233.539 236.009 235.719 0.9 -0.1
 

Food and beverages

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242.311 245.537 244.527 0.9 -0.4

Food

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242.596 245.544 244.114 0.6 -0.6

Food at home

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243.558 245.889 241.792 -0.7 -1.7

Food away from home

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242.746 246.129 250.608 3.2 1.8

Alcoholic beverages

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238.585 245.565 250.236 4.9 1.9
 

Housing

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227.516 230.757 230.195 1.2 -0.2

Shelter

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252.216 256.126 257.816 2.2 0.7

Rent of primary residence (1)

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219.202 223.714 225.437 2.8 0.8

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

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248.942 251.995 253.679 1.9 0.7

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

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248.942 251.995 253.679 1.9 0.7

Fuels and utilities

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243.622 245.773 235.785 -3.2 -4.1

Household energy

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224.903 228.706 214.455 -4.6 -6.2

Energy services (1)

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211.627 215.899 200.664 -5.2 -7.1

Electricity (1)

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182.365 180.323 158.395 -13.1 -12.2

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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206.113 222.377 226.147 9.7 1.7

Household furnishings and operations

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149.426 150.883 148.588 -0.6 -1.5
 

Apparel

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161.693 154.324 155.864 -3.6 1.0
 

Transportation

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192.914 194.236 192.410 -0.3 -0.9

Private transportation

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193.029 192.622 190.558 -1.3 -1.1

Motor fuel

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325.313 321.908 310.218 -4.6 -3.6

Gasoline (all types)

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328.844 325.338 313.485 -4.7 -3.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

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325.621 323.095 310.959 -4.5 -3.8

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

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351.524 345.930 334.887 -4.7 -3.2

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

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316.277 310.041 299.442 -5.3 -3.4
 

Medical care

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444.638 456.228 462.856 4.1 1.5
 

Recreation (5)

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119.554 122.800 123.874 3.6 0.9
 

Education and communication (5)

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145.290 145.332 145.200 -0.1 -0.1
 

Other goods and services

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402.227 401.714 403.789 0.4 0.5
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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207.173 207.164 205.819 -0.7 -0.6

Commodities less food and beverages

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186.739 185.181 183.697 -1.6 -0.8

Nondurables less food and beverages

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244.507 241.027 239.608 -2.0 -0.6

Durables

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126.143 126.216 124.803 -1.1 -1.1

Services

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263.537 268.368 269.053 2.1 0.3
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less medical care

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223.159 225.282 224.758 0.7 -0.2

All items less shelter

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229.370 231.297 230.319 0.4 -0.4

Commodities less food

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188.836 187.548 186.258 -1.4 -0.7

Nondurables

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243.817 243.758 242.548 -0.5 -0.5

Nondurables less food

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244.081 241.303 240.292 -1.6 -0.4

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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281.958 287.855 287.621 2.0 -0.1

Services less medical care services

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250.540 254.592 255.255 1.9 0.3

Energy

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276.997 277.657 264.137 -4.6 -4.9

All items less energy

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231.468 234.146 234.900 1.5 0.3

All items less food and energy

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230.391 233.029 234.200 1.7 0.5

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 6-month period as a whole, not to any specific date.