April 13, 2012
The Producer Price Index for the net output of total trade industries climbed 1.2 percent in March, the largest rise since a 1.6-percent jump in August 2011. (Trade indexes measure changes in margins received by wholesalers and retailers.)
Over two-fifths of the March advance is attributable to a 1.1-percent increase in the margin index for the wholesale trade industry group. Higher margins received by general merchandise stores and by motor vehicle and parts dealers, which are both in retail trade, were major factors in the rise in the total trade industries index. From March 2011 to March 2012, the PPI for total trade industries rose 2.2 percent; the increase was 2.5 percent for wholesale trade and 1.9 percent for retail trade, as shown in the chart.
The Producer Price Index for the net output of transportation and warehousing industries moved up 1.1 percent in March, the sixth consecutive increase. Nearly two-thirds of the March rise can be traced to prices received by the scheduled passenger air transportation industry, which climbed 4.0 percent. Advances in the indexes for truck transportation and water transportation also contributed to the rise in prices received by transportation and warehousing industries. From March 2011 to March 2012, the PPI rose 4.2 percent for transportation industries and 5.4 percent for delivery and warehouse industries, as shown in the chart.
The Producer Price Index for the net output of total traditional service industries inched up 0.1 percent in March, the third straight increase. Traditional services include information and selected healthcare, financial, and other service industries. Leading the March rise, prices for the passenger car rental industry surged 26.6 percent. Higher prices received by hotels and motels and by the securities, commodity contracts, and other financial products and related activities industry group also were factors in the advance.
The Producer Price Index for finished goods was unchanged from February to March 2012, seasonally adjusted. Finished goods prices rose 0.4 percent in February and 0.1 percent in January. The PPI for Finished goods only includes completed products from the manufacturing and mining sectors, and excludes the services areas featured in this edition of The Editor’s Desk.
These data are from the BLS Producer Price Index program. To learn more, see "Producer Price Indexes — March 2012" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-12-0665. All producer price indexes are routinely subject to revision once, 4 months after original publication, to reflect the availability of late reports and corrections by respondents.