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Friday, March 1, 2013

Spending among urban and rural households; average food prices in 2013

This week BLS published two new editions of Beyond the Numbers. The first examined expenditures of urban and rural households in 2011. The report compared the demographic characteristics, income, and spending patterns of people who live in urban and rural areas. Urban households spent 28 percent more on food away from home but 5 percent less on food at home than rural households. Rural households spent only slightly more on health care than urban households, but rural households spent a larger portion of their total expenditures on health care.

The second edition of Beyond the Numbers compared average food prices in 2013 with those in 1913. The article examined prices for bread, eggs, milk, meats, sugar, and other food items. The feature The Economics Daily includes a chart showing how much prices for different food items advanced over the century. Potatoes were among the cheapest food items in 1913 and still are today, but potato prices have increased 39-fold over the century, the sharpest rate of increase among the items tracked. Egg prices have increased the least, up about 5-fold in the last century, as advances in production, delivery, and storage techniques have outpaced those seen for most other food items.

The February issue of the Monthly Labor Review also was published this week. It features articles on recent college graduates in the U.S. labor force, fatal occupational injuries among Hispanics and Latinos, and state labor legislation enacted in 2012.