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Pittsburgh Area Consumer Price Index: Second Half 2009 (PDF)

Local Prices up 0.3 Percent Over the Year

Retail prices in the Pittsburgh area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), rose 0.3 percent from the second half of 2008 to the second half of 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that while advances in the food and beverages index led the way, most major categories of the Pittsburgh CPI-U had over-the-year increases in the second half of 2009. Prices were lower in only the transportation and housing categories. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Chart 1.  Over-the-year percent changes ended in the second half of 2009 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the Pittsburgh area, not seasonally adjusted

Over-the-year percent changes ended in the second half of 2009 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the Pittsburgh area, not seasonally adjusted

Chart Data

The food and beverages index rose 1.8 percent since the second half of 2008 due primarily to a 3.7-percent advance in food away from home prices. Both of these indexes have experienced uninterrupted 12-month increases since semiannual publication began in the first half of 1984. Higher prices for alcoholic beverages (2.6 percent) also contributed to the increase in the food and beverages index, while lower prices for food at home (-0.3 percent) moderated the overall advance.

The other goods and services index, which includes tobacco and smoking products, personal care products and services, and personal services such as legal, funeral, and laundry and dry cleaning services, was 7.4 percent higher than a year ago—the largest over-the-year advance since the second half of 2002.

Medical care prices rose 3.7 percent over the last 12 months. This index has experienced continuous 12-month increases since semiannual publication began in the first half of 1984.

Education and communication prices increased 2.9 percent from their year-ago levels. The recreation index advanced 2.0 percent since the second half of 2008. The apparel index rose 0.4 percent over the year.

The remaining indexes had lower prices from the second half of 2008 to the second half of 2009. The transportation index decreased 3.5 percent over the year. Lower gasoline prices, down 13.9 percent over the year, were almost entirely responsible for the overall decline. 

The housing index declined 0.6 percent from its year-ago level, due to a 12.5-percent decrease in prices for fuels and utilities. Utility (piped) gas service prices dropped 34.5 percent during this period–the largest 12-month decline since semiannual publication began in the first half of 1984. Moderating the decline in the fuels and utilities index were higher prices for electricity, which rose 2.0 percent over the year. Partially offsetting the decline in the housing index were higher prices for shelter, up 1.8 percent over the last 12 months as owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence and rent of primary residence rose 2.5 and 0.8 percent, respectively. Household furnishings and operations prices also advanced over the year, up 1.8 percent.

The energy index, which reflects pricing for gasoline and household fuels, dropped 15.7 percent over the year. Lower prices for utility (piped) gas service and gasoline dominated the over-the-year decline in energy prices.

The CPI-U for the Pittsburgh area stood at 213.774 on the 1982-84=100 reference base, which means that a market basket of goods and services which averaged $100.00 in the 1982-84 period would have cost $213.77 in the second half of 2009.

The Pittsburgh, Pa., Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties.

The relative importance of a component of the CPI is its expenditure or value weight expressed as a percentage of all items within an area. Relative importance ratios show approximately how the index population distributes expenditures when the value weights are collected and represent an estimate of how consumers would distribute their expenditures as prices change over time. Relative importance ratios cannot be used as estimates of current spending patterns or as indicators of changing consumer expenditures in the intervals between weight revisions because consumption patterns are influenced by factors—including income, variations in climate, family size, and availability of new and different kinds of goods and services—other than price change. (See table A.)

Table A (2005-2006 weights). Relative Importance of components in the Consumer Price Index: Pittsburgh area, December 2008
Item and group CPI-U
Expenditure category

All items

100.000

Food and beverages

17.338

Food

16.116

Food at home

8.774

Food away from home

7.342

Alcoholic beverages

1.222

Housing

40.595

Shelter

29.321

Rent of primary residence

4.982

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence

21.595

Fuels and utilities

6.913

Household energy

5.705

Gas (piped) and electricity

5.281

Electricity

2.769

Utility (piped) gas service

2.512

Household furnishings and operations

4.361

Apparel

4.083

Transportation

14.698

Private transportation

13.648

Motor fuel

3.231

Gasoline

3.074

Medical care

7.064

Recreation

6.119

Education and communication

6.523

Other goods and services

3.579
Commodity and service group

Commodities

41.398

Commodities less food and beverages

24.061

Non durables less food and beverages

14.242

Durables

9.819

Services

58.602
Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care

92.936

All items less shelter

70.679

Commodities less food

25.283

Nondurables

31.580

Nondurables less food

15.464

Services less rent of shelter

29.610

Services less medical care services

53.401

Energy

8.935

All items less energy

91.065

All items less food and energy

74.949

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
2008
1st Half
2009
2nd Half
2009
2nd Half
2008
1st Half
2009

All items

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213.084 210.468 213.774 0.3 1.6
 

Food and beverages

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214.231 217.638 218.137 1.8 0.2

Food

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213.894 217.337 217.663 1.8 0.1

Food at home

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213.104 215.154 212.376 -0.3 -1.3

Food away from home

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216.610 222.817 224.558 3.7 0.8

Alcoholic beverages

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217.498 220.412 223.192 2.6 1.3
 

Housing

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215.109 212.925 213.860 -0.6 0.4

Shelter

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230.522 229.555 234.647 1.8 2.2

Rent of primary residence (1)

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198.812 199.340 200.417 0.8 0.5

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

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222.208 224.704 227.687 2.5 1.3

Fuels and utilities

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262.020 243.642 229.169 -12.5 -5.9

Household energy

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260.881 234.630 217.832 -16.5 -7.2

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

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257.616 237.858 216.791 -15.8 -8.9

Electricity (1)

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169.095 173.399 172.434 2.0 -0.6

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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371.502 303.355 243.444 -34.5 -19.7

Household furnishings and operations

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147.940 152.126 150.537 1.8 -1.0
 

Apparel

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148.894 148.338 149.490 0.4 0.8
 

Transportation

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170.707 155.372 164.739 -3.5 6.0

Private transportation

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170.750 155.574 165.513 -3.1 6.4

Motor fuel

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273.602 190.608 232.868 -14.9 22.2

Gasoline (all types)

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274.044 192.153 235.969 -13.9 22.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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272.424 188.456 232.344 -14.7 23.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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289.613 207.368 253.135 -12.6 22.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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263.304 191.989 232.918 -11.5 21.3
 

Medical care

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364.080 368.193 377.464 3.7 2.5
 

Recreation (6)

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114.181 116.543 116.520 2.0 0.0
 

Education and communication (6)

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134.083 135.103 137.994 2.9 2.1
 

Other goods and services

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346.606 361.697 372.323 7.4 2.9
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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185.868 181.046 185.540 -0.2 2.5

Commodities less food and beverages

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169.172 160.206 166.698 -1.5 4.1

Nondurables less food and beverages

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215.205 196.749 209.346 -2.7 6.4

Durables

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120.491 120.895 121.375 0.7 0.4

Services

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243.078 242.528 244.759 0.7 0.9
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less medical care

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205.198 202.323 205.357 0.1 1.5

All items less shelter

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209.064 205.567 208.363 -0.3 1.4

Commodities less food

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171.148 162.577 168.950 -1.3 3.9

Nondurables

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215.052 207.663 214.114 -0.4 3.1

Nondurables less food

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215.344 198.324 210.255 -2.4 6.0

Services less rent of shelter (3)

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262.545 261.772 261.110 -0.5 -0.3

Services less medical care services

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233.184 232.544 234.438 0.5 0.8

Energy

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273.325 219.899 230.286 -15.7 4.7

All items less energy

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209.350 211.196 213.956 2.2 1.3

All items less food and energy

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209.341 210.869 214.141 2.3 1.6

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) This index series will undergo a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class will include weight from secondary residences and will be re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(3) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(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.

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: June 8, 2010