March 29, 1999
In the South region, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 1.5 percent from December 1997 to December 1998, just below the national rise of 1.6 percent. The South CPI had risen 1.5 percent in 1997. The CPI-U measures retail price changes for goods and services purchased by consumers in metropolitan areas.
In the South, housing prices rose 2.2 percent over the year, with the cost of shelter increasing 3.3 percent, the cost of fuels and utilities declining 2.3 percent, and the cost of household furnishings and operations growing 1.1 percent. Price increases also were reported in "other goods and services", medical care, recreation, and food and beverages. The "other goods and services" increase—which includes price changes for tobacco products—was the largest since 1982.
Price decreases in the South region from December 1997 to December 1998 were reported in apparel and transportation. Within transportation, gasoline prices declined 15.5 percent over the year. Education and communication items experienced a small price increase.
These data are produced by the BLS Consumer Price Index program. More information can be obtained in news release "Consumer Prices in the South: December 1998." Annual comparisons are based on changes in indexes from December 1997 to December 1998.