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12-341-PHI

Friday, February 17, 2012

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Consumer Price Index, Pittsburgh – Second Half 2011

Local Prices up 5.2 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Pittsburgh area rose 5.2 percent from the second half of 2010 to the second half of 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent 12-month advance was the largest since the second half of 1990. The rise in the all items index was due to increases in the indexes for all items less food and energy (3.6 percent), energy (16.5 percent) and food (6.9 percent). The 12-month advance in the all items less food and energy index was led by higher shelter prices while the increase in the energy index was mostly due to higher prices for gasoline. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Pittsburgh, second half 2008 to second half 2011

Food

The food index rose 6.9 percent since the second half of 2010. The advance was due largely to higher prices for food at home, up 8.3 percent. Prices for food away from home also increased over the year, rising 5.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, jumped 16.5 percent since the second half of 2010. The advance in energy prices was due mainly to higher gasoline prices, up 25.4 percent over the last 12 months. Electricity prices also rose over the year, up 11.1 percent—the largest 12-month increase since the second half of 2007. Partially offsetting these advances were lower prices for utility (piped) gas service, down 5.9 percent from their year-ago levels. The utility gas service index has posted uninterrupted over-the-year decreases since the first half of 2009.  

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 3.6 percent since a year ago. Within this grouping, price increases were led by shelter (3.2 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent of primary residence (3.4 percent). Higher prices for apparel (10.2 percent) and medical care (5.8 percent), among others, also contributed to the 12-month increase in the all items less food and energy index.

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 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; 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 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
2010
1st Half
2011
2nd Half
2011
2nd Half
2010
1st Half
2011

All items

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216.345 222.651 227.513 5.2 2.2
 

Food and beverages

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223.649 229.365 237.980 6.4 3.8

Food

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223.596 229.801 238.975 6.9 4.0

Food at home

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219.750 229.224 237.937 8.3 3.8

Food away from home

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230.649 232.882 242.539 5.2 4.1

Alcoholic beverages

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223.383 222.964 224.567 0.5 0.7
 

Housing

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213.267 217.093 220.323 3.3 1.5

Shelter

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234.237 237.067 241.830 3.2 2.0

Rent of primary residence (1)

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202.116 205.888 209.140 3.5 1.6

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1)

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230.735 234.032 238.584 3.4 1.9

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

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230.735 234.032 238.584 3.4 1.9

Fuels and utilities

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233.255 241.508 247.533 6.1 2.5

Household energy

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218.478 230.295 234.914 7.5 2.0

Energy services (1)

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213.544 218.894 223.743 4.8 2.2

Electricity (1)

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171.601 181.717 190.670 11.1 4.9

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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235.764 228.191 221.827 -5.9 -2.8

Household furnishings and operations

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145.488 147.909 146.072 0.4 -1.2
 

Apparel

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150.399 154.110 165.685 10.2 7.5
 

Transportation

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171.559 186.540 190.347 11.0 2.0

Private transportation

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172.283 186.970 190.973 10.8 2.1

Motor fuel

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249.627 313.151 313.447 25.6 0.1

Gasoline (all types)

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252.442 316.742 316.642 25.4 0.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

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248.968 314.252 314.293 26.2 0.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

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270.206 336.983 336.012 24.4 -0.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

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247.821 303.780 304.215 22.8 0.1
 

Medical care

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395.875 408.278 418.992 5.8 2.6
 

Recreation (5)

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111.304 113.494 114.133 2.5 0.6
 

Education and communication (5)

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141.222 140.412 142.823 1.1 1.7
 

Other goods and services

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381.923 388.186 392.745 2.8 1.2
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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189.161 198.434 203.648 7.7 2.6

Commodities less food and beverages

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169.347 180.225 183.691 8.5 1.9

Nondurables less food and beverages

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213.227 232.659 239.601 12.4 3.0

Durables

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122.755 124.823 124.732 1.6 -0.1

Services

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246.430 250.396 255.112 3.5 1.9
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less medical care

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207.295 213.305 217.894 5.1 2.2

All items less shelter

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212.194 219.995 225.017 6.0 2.3

Commodities less food

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171.518 182.016 185.420 8.1 1.9

Nondurables

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218.789 231.498 239.273 9.4 3.4

Nondurables less food

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213.887 231.986 238.564 11.5 2.8

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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265.481 270.861 275.893 3.9 1.9

Services less medical care services

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235.196 238.806 243.226 3.4 1.9

Energy

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238.574 275.169 277.854 16.5 1.0

All items less energy

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215.923 219.789 224.810 4.1 2.3

All items less food and energy

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215.379 218.835 223.122 3.6 2.0

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 month as a whole, not to any specific date.