For release: Friday, January 15, 2010 PLS - 4624
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South Region Consumer Price Index – December 2009 (PDF)

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the South1 inched down 0.1 percent in December to a level of 209.476 (1982-84=100), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the decrease was led by lower prices for apparel and housing. Higher prices for food and beverages, among others, moderated the overall decline. (See chart 1.) The energy index decreased 0.7 percent over the month, while food costs edged up 0.2 percent. The core inflation rate, as measured by the all items less food and energy index, inched down 0.1 percent over the month.  (See table 1.)

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

1-month and 12-month percent changes ended December 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 increased 2.9 percent, due largely to higher prices for transportation and other goods and services. Energy costs in the region jumped 16.7 percent, while food prices edged down 0.2 percent since last December. Over the same period, the core inflation rate advanced 2.0 percent.

Among the major categories, the apparel index followed normal seasonal patterns, declining 2.5 percent in December. Over the year, apparel costs advanced 0.8 percent.

The index for housing inched down 0.1 percent since November due to lower prices in all three components. The shelter index, which includes rent of primary residence, lodging away from home, owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence, and tenants’ and household insurance, declined 0.1 percent in December. Household furnishings and operations costs decreased 0.4 percent over the month. The fuels and utilities index inched down 0.1 percent in December as a 0.3-percent decrease in costs for electricity was partially offset by a 0.2-percent rise in utility (piped) gas service prices. The housing index declined 0.4 percent over the year ―the fifth consecutive 12-month decline for this index, as a   4.6-percent 12-month decrease in the fuels and utilities index was partially offset by higher prices for shelter (0.3 percent) and household furnishings and operations (0.1 percent).

The transportation index inched down 0.1 percent in December as a 1.2-percent decline in motor fuel costs was partially offset by a 0.3-percent increase in prices for new and used motor vehicles. Over the year, transportation costs advanced 15.7 percent largely due to a 49.9-percent jump in motor fuel prices.

Recreation prices decreased 0.2 percent since November and 0.6 percent since December 2008. The other goods and services index (which includes tobacco and smoking products, personal care products and services, and miscellaneous personal goods) inched down 0.1 percent over the month but increased 9.9 percent over the last 12 months.

The index for medical care was unchanged over the month, as costs for medical care commodities inched down 0.1 percent. Prices for medical care services were unchanged since November. Over the year, the medical care index advanced 3.2 percent as prices increased for both medical care services (3.3 percent) and medical care commodities (3.0 percent).

The food and beverages index edged up 0.2 percent in December as costs for food at home increased 0.4 percent. Prices for food away from home were unchanged while those for alcoholic beverages declined 0.2 percent. Over the year, the food and beverages index was unchanged. A 1.8-percent decrease in prices for food at home was offset by higher costs for food away from home (1.8 percent) and alcoholic beverages (1.7 percent).

Prices for education and communication inched up 0.1 percent over the month. Since December 2008, this index advanced 2.5 percent.

Population size groups

Over the month, consumer prices in the South edged down 0.2 percent in the largest metropolitan areas, those with 1.5 million or more residents (Size Class A). Prices inched down 0.1 percent in both the mid-size areas, those with populations between 50,000 and 1.5 million (Size Class B/C), and 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 increased 2.2 percent in the largest areas (Size Class A). Prices advanced 3.2 percent in the mid-sized areas (Size Class B/C) and increased 4.3 percent in the smallest areas (Size Class D).

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
Dec.
2009
Dec.
2008
Nov.
2009
Dec.
2009
Dec.
2008
Nov.
2009

All items

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209.476 2.9 -0.1
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206.716 3.7 -0.1

All items (Dec. 1977 = 100)

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339.799    
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334.800    
 

Food and beverages

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216.286 0.0 0.2
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215.040 -0.1 0.3

Food

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216.832 -0.2 0.2
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215.545 -0.2 0.3

Food at home

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211.104 -1.8 0.4
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209.377 -1.9 0.5

Food away from home

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227.401 1.8 0.0
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226.790 2.0 0.0

Alcoholic beverages

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207.620 1.7 -0.2
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207.118 2.1 -0.1
 

Housing

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200.527 -0.4 -0.1
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200.162 -0.3 -0.1

Shelter

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221.823 0.3 -0.1
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221.356 0.5 0.0

Rent of primary residence (1)

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223.750 0.8 0.1
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222.381 0.7 0.0

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

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225.942 0.6 -0.1
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210.231 0.5 -0.1

Fuels and utilities

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211.444 -4.6 -0.1
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211.540 -4.3 -0.1

Household energy

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180.904 -6.6 -0.2
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179.282 -6.3 -0.1

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

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181.645 -6.7 -0.2
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180.766 -6.4 -0.2

Electricity (1)

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176.888 -4.6 -0.3
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174.702 -4.6 -0.3

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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198.368 -17.2 0.2
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202.054 -16.7 0.7

Household furnishings and operations

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128.324 0.1 -0.4
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123.247 0.3 -0.4
 

Apparel

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130.113 0.8 -2.5
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130.041 0.5 -2.7
 

Transportation

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185.445 15.7 -0.1
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182.939 17.3 0.1

Private transportation

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183.486 16.3 -0.1
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181.261 17.7 0.1

New and used motor vehicles (4)

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96.446 6.2 0.3
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94.698 7.5 1.0

New vehicles

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143.187 5.6 -0.1
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142.929 5.6 -0.1

New cars and trucks (4) (5)

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97.390 5.6 -0.2
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New cars (5)

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146.988 4.3 -0.3
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Used cars and trucks

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136.843 10.5 2.5
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137.582 10.5 2.5

Motor fuel

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221.897 49.9 -1.2
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221.750 49.8 -1.2

Gasoline (all types)

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221.252 53.2 -1.2
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221.199 53.2 -1.2

Gasoline, unleaded regular (5)

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219.767 55.1 -1.3
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219.689 55.2 -1.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (5) (6)

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231.710 50.0 -1.1
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231.632 50.1 -1.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium (5)

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221.196 47.2 -0.9
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220.863 47.2 -0.9
 

Medical care

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361.489 3.2 0.0
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365.175 3.4 0.0

Medical care commodities

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295.055 3.0 -0.1
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288.270 3.1 0.0

Medical care services

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383.204 3.3 0.0
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388.643 3.5 0.0

Professional services

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318.893 2.6 0.1
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320.575 2.6 0.1
 

Recreation (4)

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113.926 -0.6 -0.2
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110.378 -0.7 -0.3
 

Education and communication (4)

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124.717 2.5 0.1
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119.668 2.0 0.1
 

Other goods and services

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370.188 9.9 -0.1
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393.424 13.5 -0.1
 

Commodities

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173.865 6.2 -0.3
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175.145 7.7 -0.2

Services

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245.913 0.7 0.0
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244.856 0.7 0.0
 

All items less shelter

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205.828 4.2 -0.1
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202.837 5.1 -0.1

All items less medical care

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200.727 2.9 -0.1
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198.923 3.7 -0.1

Energy

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194.732 16.7 -0.7
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195.089 18.2 -0.7

All items less energy

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211.782 1.7 -0.1
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208.277 2.0 0.0

All items less food and energy

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211.281 2.0 -0.1
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206.955 2.5 0.0
 

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

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210.971 2.2 -0.2
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208.788 2.8 -0.2

South size B/C (50,000 to 1,500,000) (7)

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133.252 3.2 -0.1
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132.136 4.0 0.0

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

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213.159 4.3 -0.1
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213.184 5.0 -0.1

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) 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 residences, which prior to January, 2010 is identical to the EC, will be published as well.
(3) Indexes for CPI-U on December 1982=100 base; CPI-W on a December 1984=100 base.
(4) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(5) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(6) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(7) 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: January 19, 2010