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News Release Information

15-1032-PHI
Friday, May 22, 2015

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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City – April 2015

Area prices up 0.5 percent since February and unchanged over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City advanced 0.5 percent over the last two months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted the advance was the first bimonthly increase for the all items index since June 2014. The recent increase was led by a 0.3-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. The food index and energy index also rose since February, up 1.1 and 1.7 percent, respectively. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)

Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U was unchanged, the first time this index has recorded no change over the year since 1959. (See chart 1 and table A.) A 2.0-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index and a 2.3-percent increase in the food index were offset by a 19.1-percent decrease in the energy index since April 2014. (See table 1.)

Food

After decreasing 1.5 percent from December to February, the food index increased 1.1 percent over the last two months. Food at home prices rose 1.7 percent and food away from home prices edged up 0.3 percent.

Food prices rose 2.3 percent over the year, as prices for both components also increased. Prices for food at home advanced 3.1 percent and those for food away from home increased 1.4 percent since last April.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 1.7 percent since February, led by an 8.0-percent advance in gasoline prices. Prices for utility (piped) gas service and electricity both declined since February, down 4.7 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Energy prices fell 19.1 percent since April 2014, due mostly to a 31.3-percent drop in gasoline prices. Utility (piped) gas service prices also declined since April 2014, down 11.8 percent—the largest over-the-year decline for the index since February 2010. Electricity prices increased, up 0.6 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.3 percent since February, reflecting higher prices for medical care (1.3 percent), household furnishings and operations (2.0 percent), and shelter (0.2 percent). Moderating the increase in the all items less food and energy index were lower prices for apparel, down 5.1 percent.

Since April 2014, the index for all items less food and energy rose 2.0 percent. The advance was due largely to an over-the-year increase in the shelter index, up 3.1 percent, as the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index was up 2.7 percent. Higher prices for medical care (6.0 percent), among others, also contributed to the rise. Lower prices for apparel (-7.2 percent) and other goods and services (-1.0 percent) moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index since last April.

Table A. Philadelphia CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month20112012201320142015
2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month

February

1.31.90.72.20.71.80.51.0-0.2-0.1

April

1.02.50.82.00.11.10.51.40.50.0

June

0.62.8-0.21.30.31.50.61.8  

August

0.73.40.91.40.51.10.01.3  

October

-0.33.00.42.2-0.40.3-0.11.6  

December

-0.52.8-0.91.80.11.2-0.80.6  

The Consumer Price Index for June 2015 is scheduled to be released on Friday, July 17, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).


Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City is published bi-monthly. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes CPIs for two population groups: (1) a CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) which covers approximately 89 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 28 percent of the total population. The CPI-U includes, in addition to wage earners and clerical workers, groups such as professional, managerial, and technical workers, the self-employed, short-term workers, the unemployed, and retirees and others not in the labor force.

The CPI is based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, and fuels, transportation fares, charges for doctors' and dentists' services, drugs, and the other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living. Each month, prices are collected in 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 retail establishments--department stores, supermarkets, hospitals, filling stations, and other types of stores and service establishments. All taxes directly associated with the purchase and use of items are included in the index.

The index measures price changes from a designated reference date (1982-84) that equals 100.0. An increase of 16.5 percent, for example, is shown as 116.5. This change can also be expressed in dollars as follows: the price of a base period "market basket" of goods and services in the CPI has risen from $10 in 1982-84 to $11.65. For further details see the CPI home page on the Internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the BLS Handbook of Methods, Chapter 17, The Consumer Price Index, available on the Internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/homch17_a.htm.

In calculating the index, price changes for the various items in each location are averaged together with weights that represent their importance in the spending of the appropriate population group. Local data are then combined to obtain a U.S. city average. Because the sample size of a local area is smaller, the local area index is subject to substantially more sampling and other measurement error than the national index. In addition, local indexes are not adjusted for seasonal influences. As a result, local area indexes show greater volatility than the national index, although their long-term trends are quite similar. Note: Area indexes do not measure differences in the level of prices between cities; they only measure the average change in prices for each area since the base period.

The Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md., Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties in New Jersey; New Castle County in Delaware; and Cecil County in Maryland.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md., (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure categoryIndexesPercent change from
 
Historical
data
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015
Apr.
2015
Apr.
2014
Feb.
2015
Mar.
2015

All items

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242.424 243.7170.00.5 

All items (1967 = 100)

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700.349 704.085   
 

Food and beverages

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229.054 231.0932.40.9 

Food

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228.428 230.9462.31.1 

Food at home

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238.770243.614242.8233.11.7-0.3

Food away from home

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209.123 209.8501.40.3 

Alcoholic beverages

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234.479 230.3932.9-1.7 
 

Housing

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249.883 250.0801.60.1 

Shelter

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306.925307.273307.5553.10.20.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

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288.113288.356288.7133.60.20.1

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1) (2) (3)

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314.303314.775315.4622.70.40.2

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

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314.303314.775315.4622.70.40.2

Fuels and utilities

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210.007 205.797-5.5-2.0 

Household energy

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178.299174.481173.775-7.0-2.5-0.4

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

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189.616184.131185.284-3.2-2.30.6

Electricity (1)

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195.869191.236193.2690.6-1.31.1

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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169.593162.474161.700-11.8-4.7-0.5

Household furnishings and operations

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115.207 117.470-0.32.0 
 

Apparel

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113.050 107.340-7.2-5.1 
 

Transportation

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199.403 204.717-8.92.7 

Private transportation

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197.407 203.223-8.82.9 

Motor fuel

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203.966217.148220.296-31.38.01.4

Gasoline (all types)

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200.983213.952217.160-31.38.01.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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199.028212.185215.447-31.88.21.5

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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204.675215.734218.588-29.86.81.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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199.572211.383214.185-28.67.31.3
 

Medical care

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486.549 492.6676.01.3 
 

Recreation (6)

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123.830 125.4340.31.3 
 

Education and communication (6)

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132.674 132.7630.50.1 
 

Other goods and services

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460.706 464.857-1.00.9 
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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175.847 177.536-4.11.0 

Commodities less food and beverages

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146.453 147.933-8.11.0 

Nondurables less food and beverages

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181.530 182.840-11.00.7 

Durables

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106.560 108.189-2.41.5 

Services

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310.333 311.3002.30.3 
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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221.614 223.206-1.60.7 

All items less medical care

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232.170 233.272-0.50.5 

Commodities less food

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149.575 150.882-7.60.9 

Nondurables

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206.192 207.860-4.50.8 

Nondurables less food

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184.637 185.628-10.10.5 

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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320.771 322.1671.30.4 

Services less medical care services

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296.631 297.1122.00.2 

Energy

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187.793190.225190.936-19.11.70.4

All items less energy

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250.273 251.3722.00.4 

All items less food and energy

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256.614 257.4632.00.3 

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 on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) This index series underwent a change in composition in January 2010. The expenditure class now includes weight from secondary residences, and has been re-titled "Owners' equivalent rent of residences." The item stratum "Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence" excludes secondary residences.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.

Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, May 22, 2015