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15-516-PHI
Friday, September 11, 2015

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

Area prices down 0.2 percent since December and 0.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City edged down 0.2 percent over the last two months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted the decline was the third consecutive two-month decrease for the all items index. The recent decrease was led by a 6.4-percent decline in energy prices. The food index also decreased since December, down 1.5 percent, while the all items less food and energy index increased 0.6 percent. (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 inched down 0.1 percent, due entirely to a 19.4-percent drop in energy prices. (See chart 1 and table A.) Since February 2014, the all items less food and energy index rose 1.9 percent and the food index rose 2.0 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

After increasing 0.8 percent from October to December, the food index declined 1.5 percent over the last two months, the largest two-month decrease in the index in over 20 years. Food at home prices decreased 2.0 percent and food away from home prices were down 0.7 percent.

Food prices rose 2.0 percent over the year, as prices for both components also increased. Prices for food at home advanced 2.7 percent and those for food away from home increased 1.1 percent since last February.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, declined 6.4 percent since December, led by falling gasoline prices. The gasoline index dropped 14.5 percent over the last two months; prices for utility (piped) gas service also declined, down 0.5 percent. Prices for electricity advanced 0.6 percent since December.

Energy prices fell 19.4 percent since February 2014–the largest over-the-year decrease since August 2009–due almost entirely to a 33.8-percent drop in gasoline prices. Electricity prices also declined since February 2014, down 1.5 percent, while utility (piped) gas service prices increased, up 0.9 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.6 percent since December, due largely to higher shelter prices, up 0.8 percent. Also contributing to the advance were a seasonal increase in apparel prices (7.6 percent) and higher prices for medical care (2.3 percent). Moderating the increase in the all items less food and energy index were lower prices for other goods and services, down 7.4 percent.

Since February 2014, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.9 percent. The advance was due largely to an over-the-year increase in the shelter index, up 2.9 percent. Higher prices for medical care (5.6 percent), among others, also contributed to the rise. Lower prices for apparel (-2.7 percent) and recreation (-1.5 percent) moderated the increase in the all items less food and energy index since last February.

 

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

1.02.50.82.00.11.10.51.4  

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 April 2015 is scheduled to be released on Friday, May 22, 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.

 

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
Dec.
2014
Jan.
2015
Feb.
2015
Feb.
2014
Dec.
2014
Jan.
2015

All items

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242.912 242.424-0.1-0.2 

All items (1967 = 100)

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701.760 700.349   
 

Food and beverages

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231.947 229.0542.1-1.2 

Food

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231.805 228.4282.0-1.5 

Food at home

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243.721242.746238.7702.7-2.0-1.6

Food away from home

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210.638 209.1231.1-0.7 

Alcoholic beverages

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231.170 234.4792.71.4 
 

Housing

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248.454 249.8831.60.6 

Shelter

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304.444305.099306.9252.90.80.6

Rent of primary residence (1)

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284.866285.561288.1133.41.10.9

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

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312.594313.390314.3032.40.50.3

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

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312.594313.390314.3032.40.50.3

Fuels and utilities

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210.170 210.007-4.5-0.1 

Household energy

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178.467177.391178.299-5.7-0.10.5

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

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189.092188.817189.616-0.80.30.4

Electricity (1)

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194.715194.672195.869-1.50.60.6

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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170.436169.676169.5930.9-0.50.0

Household furnishings and operations

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115.916 115.207-0.7-0.6 
 

Apparel

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105.078 113.050-2.77.6 
 

Transportation

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206.634 199.403-8.9-3.5 

Private transportation

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205.519 197.407-9.3-3.9 

Motor fuel

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238.589203.214203.966-33.8-14.50.4

Gasoline (all types)

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235.165200.236200.983-33.8-14.50.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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233.404198.129199.028-34.4-14.70.5

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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237.107203.922204.675-31.7-13.70.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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231.017200.012199.572-31.0-13.6-0.2
 

Medical care

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475.778 486.5495.62.3 
 

Recreation (6)

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123.093 123.830-1.50.6 
 

Education and communication (6)

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132.911 132.6740.4-0.2 
 

Other goods and services

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497.587 460.706-1.9-7.4 
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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177.621 175.847-4.1-1.0 

Commodities less food and beverages

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147.671 146.453-8.0-0.8 

Nondurables less food and beverages

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184.183 181.530-10.9-1.4 

Durables

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106.238 106.560-2.20.3 

Services

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309.658 310.3332.20.2 
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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223.320 221.614-1.6-0.8 

All items less medical care

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233.093 232.170-0.5-0.4 

Commodities less food

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150.653 149.575-7.5-0.7 

Nondurables

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208.992 206.192-4.6-1.3 

Nondurables less food

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186.938 184.637-10.0-1.2 

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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322.314 320.7711.3-0.5 

Services less medical care services

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296.240 296.6312.00.1 

Energy

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200.630186.943187.793-19.4-6.40.5

All items less energy

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249.405 250.2732.00.3 

All items less food and energy

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254.957 256.6141.90.6 

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, September 11, 2015