Web site: www.bls.gov/ro3/ PLS - 4498
For Release:
Friday, February 20, 2009
Information Contact: Cassidy Canzani
(215) 597-3282
Media Contact: Gerald Perrins
(215) 861-5600

South Region Consumer Price Index: January 2009 (PDF)

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the South1 increased 0.4 percent in January to 204.288 (1982-84=100), the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that this increase followed three consecutive monthly decreases for the South. Higher prices for housing, transportation, and food and beverages were responsible for the majority of the increase; apparel was the only major category of the overall CPI to record a price decline in January. The energy index increased 1.2 percent over the month, while food costs edged up 0.3 percent. Over the same period, the core inflation rate, as measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose 0.3 percent.

Chart A.  1-month and 12-month percent changes ended January 2009 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the South region, not seasonally adjusted

1-month and 12-month percent changes ended January 2009 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the South region, not seasonally adjusted

chart data

Over the last 12 months, prices in the South inched down 0.1 percent—the first 12-month decline in the history of the all items index dating back to December 1966. Lower costs for transportation and apparel were nearly offset by increases in the six remaining categories, in particular housing and food and beverages. Energy costs in the region declined 19.9 percent, while food prices increased 5.4 percent since last January. Over the same period, the core inflation rate, as measured by the all items less food and energy index, advanced 1.7 percent.

Among the major categories, the housing index increased 0.5 percent over the month. The shelter index, which includes rent of primary residence, lodging away from home, owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence, and tenants’ and household insurance, rose 0.6 percent since December. Household furnishings and operations costs edged up 0.2 percent over the month, while costs for fuels and utilities inched down 0.1 percent. Since January 2008, the housing index rose 3.2 percent in the South. Higher prices for shelter (2.4 percent) and fuels and utilities (8.9 percent) were largely responsible for the 12-month increase in the housing index. Costs for household furnishings and operations were also higher over the year, advancing 2.0 percent.

The transportation index increased 1.0 percent in January, as costs for motor fuel and new vehicles increased 3.1 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. Over the year, transportation costs decreased 14.8 percent due largely to a 41.5-percent decline in motor fuel prices.

The food and beverages index increased 0.4 percent in January, as costs for food away from home and food at home rose 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Costs for alcoholic beverages rose 0.9 percent over the month. Since January 2008, the food and beverages index advanced 5.3 percent. Prices for food at home rose 5.6 percent over the year and those for food away from home and alcoholic beverages increased 5.3 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

The index for medical care increased 0.4 percent over the month, as costs for medical care services (0.3 percent) and medical care commodities (0.7 percent) both advanced. Over the year, the medical care index rose 2.3 percent, as prices increased for medical care services (2.4 percent) and medical care commodities (1.9 percent).

Prices for education and communication inched up 0.1 percent over the month; since January 2008, this index increased 3.3 percent. Recreation prices also inched up 0.1 percent over the month and rose 1.5 percent over the year.

The other goods and services index (which includes tobacco and smoking products, personal care products and services, and miscellaneous personal goods) inched up 0.1 percent over the month to a level 2.9 percent higher than a year ago.

Following normal seasonal patterns, apparel costs declined in January, falling 1.6 percent. The apparel index decreased 2.3 percent over the year.

Population size groups

Over the month, consumer prices in the South increased 0.3 percent in the largest metropolitan areas, those with 1.5 million or more residents (Size Class A). Prices increased 0.4 percent in the mid-size areas, those with populations between 50,000 and 1.5 million (Size Class B/C), and increased 0.7 percent in the smallest areas, those with populations of less than 50,000 (Size Class D). Over the past 12 months, consumer prices in the South inched down 0.1 percent in the largest areas (Size Class A) and declined 0.2 percent in the mid-sized areas (Size Class B/C). In the smallest areas (Size Class D), prices increased 0.6 percent over the year.

Technical Note

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has updated the consumption expenditure weights in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to the 2005-06 period. The updated expenditure weights for these indexes replace the 2003-2004 weights that were introduced effective with the January 2006 CPI release. As originally announced by BLS in December 1998, CPI expenditure weights will continue to be updated at two year intervals.

The CPI program completed its conversion to Computer Assisted Data Collection (Cadc). Due to the efficiencies gained from conversion to Cadc, BLS has extended data collection to cover the entire month, beginning with data for January 2004. CPI data collection is scheduled in terms of business days — weekdays excluding holidays. Formerly, data collection covered three pricing periods, each comprising six business days in most months and five days in November and December. Consequently, the last day of scheduled data collection was usually the 18th business day of the month. This allowed time during the end of the month for the mailing of paper schedules back to the Washington Office and the data entry of the information in these schedules. Starting in January 2004, the three pricing periods now have variable lengths, between six and eight business days long. The third pricing period normally will end on the last business day of the month.

Local area CPI indexes are by-products of the national CPI program. Because each local index is a small subset of the national index, it has a smaller sample size and is, therefore, subject to substantially more sampling and measurement error than the national index, although their long-term trends are quite similar. The Bureau of Labor Statistics strongly urges users to consider adopting the national average CPI for use in escalator clauses.

We encourage users interested in learning more about changes to the CPI to contact the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Information on the Consumer Price Index and other surveys are available on our Web site at www.bls.gov. Current and historical BLS data are also posted on our Web site at www.bls.gov/ro3/. If you have additional questions, you can contact the Mid-Atlantic information office directly by dialing (215) 597-3282. Information from the Consumer Price Index program is available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Services: 1-800-877-8339.

1 South includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers and Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, South Region, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Item and group All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)
Urban Wage Earners and
Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
Historical
data
Index Percent change from
Historical
data
Index Percent change from
Jan.
2009
Jan.
2008
Dec.
2008
Jan.
2009
Jan.
2008
Dec.
2008

All items

Jump to page with historical data
204.288 -0.1 0.4
Jump to page with historical data
200.067 -0.9 0.3

All items (Dec. 1977 = 100)

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331.383    
Jump to page with historical data
324.031    
 

Food and beverages

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217.138 5.3 0.4
Jump to page with historical data
215.912 5.3 0.3

Food

Jump to page with historical data
217.870 5.4 0.3
Jump to page with historical data
216.649 5.4 0.3

Food at home

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215.552 5.6 0.3
Jump to page with historical data
213.870 5.5 0.2

Food away from home

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224.223 5.3 0.4
Jump to page with historical data
223.342 5.3 0.4

Alcoholic beverages

Jump to page with historical data
205.850 3.7 0.9
Jump to page with historical data
204.372 3.8 0.7
 

Housing

Jump to page with historical data
202.302 3.2 0.5
Jump to page with historical data
201.567 3.6 0.4

Shelter

Jump to page with historical data
222.500 2.4 0.6
Jump to page with historical data
221.325 2.5 0.5

Rent of primary residence (1)

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222.748 3.3 0.3
Jump to page with historical data
221.595 3.2 0.3

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

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225.384 2.5 0.3
Jump to page with historical data
209.909 2.4 0.4

Fuels and utilities

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221.384 8.9 -0.1
Jump to page with historical data
220.955 9.3 0.0

Household energy

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193.390 9.5 -0.1
Jump to page with historical data
191.090 9.8 -0.1

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

Jump to page with historical data
194.498 10.3 -0.1
Jump to page with historical data
192.903 10.4 -0.1

Electricity (1)

Jump to page with historical data
186.727 12.3 0.7
Jump to page with historical data
184.177 12.1 0.5

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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229.885 1.1 -4.1
Jump to page with historical data
233.360 1.3 -3.8

Household furnishings and operations

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128.516 2.0 0.2
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123.194 2.1 0.3
 

Apparel

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126.999 -2.3 -1.6
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127.514 -2.3 -1.5
 

Transportation

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161.768 -14.8 1.0
Jump to page with historical data
157.363 -16.5 0.9

Private transportation

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159.478 -15.5 1.1
Jump to page with historical data
155.472 -16.9 0.9

New and used motor vehicles (3)

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91.305 -4.5 0.6
Jump to page with historical data
88.223 -5.9 0.1

New vehicles

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137.068 -2.9 1.1
Jump to page with historical data
136.652 -2.8 1.0

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

Jump to page with historical data
93.230 -2.9 1.1
Jump to page with historical data
     

New cars (4)

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142.040 -0.7 0.8
Jump to page with historical data
     

Used cars and trucks

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122.794 -9.8 -0.9
Jump to page with historical data
123.447 -9.9 -0.9

Motor fuel

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152.573 -41.5 3.1
Jump to page with historical data
152.567 -41.5 3.1

Gasoline (all types)

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150.166 -42.1 3.9
Jump to page with historical data
150.169 -42.1 4.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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147.711 -43.1 4.3
Jump to page with historical data
147.696 -43.1 4.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

Jump to page with historical data
159.687 -40.6 3.4
Jump to page with historical data
159.681 -40.6 3.5

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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154.789 -39.2 3.0
Jump to page with historical data
154.595 -39.2 3.0
 

Medical care

Jump to page with historical data
351.715 2.3 0.4
Jump to page with historical data
354.468 2.3 0.4

Medical care commodities

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288.487 1.9 0.7
Jump to page with historical data
281.523 2.0 0.7

Medical care services

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372.150 2.4 0.3
Jump to page with historical data
376.475 2.4 0.3

Professional services

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311.854 2.9 0.3
Jump to page with historical data
313.193 2.8 0.3
 

Recreation (3)

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114.712 1.5 0.1
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111.184 1.2 0.0
 

Education and communication (3)

Jump to page with historical data
121.848 3.3 0.1
Jump to page with historical data
117.509 2.9 0.1
 

Other goods and services

Jump to page with historical data
337.299 2.9 0.1
Jump to page with historical data
347.423 3.0 0.2
 

Commodities

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164.400 -4.9 0.4
Jump to page with historical data
163.246 -6.4 0.4

Services

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245.046 3.4 0.4
Jump to page with historical data
243.778 3.6 0.3
 

All items less shelter

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198.118 -1.3 0.3
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193.557 -2.3 0.3

All items less medical care

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195.788 -0.3 0.4
Jump to page with historical data
192.490 -1.1 0.3

Energy

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168.785 -19.9 1.2
Jump to page with historical data
167.140 -21.0 1.3

All items less energy

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208.994 2.3 0.3
Jump to page with historical data
204.611 2.1 0.2

All items less food and energy

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207.777 1.7 0.3
Jump to page with historical data
202.392 1.5 0.2
 

South size A (more than 1,500,000)

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207.035 -0.1 0.3
Jump to page with historical data
203.519 -0.9 0.2

South size B/C (50,000 to 1,500,000) (6)

Jump to page with historical data
129.615 -0.2 0.4
Jump to page with historical data
127.529 -1.0 0.4

South size D (nonmetropolitan, less than 50,000)

Jump to page with historical data
205.766 0.6 0.7
Jump to page with historical data
204.316 -0.3 0.6

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 for CPI-U on December 1982=100 base; CPI-W on a December 1984=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) Indexes on a December 1996=100 base.

South region includes the District of Columbia and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia.

 

Last Modified Date: September 23, 2009