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News Release Information

16-1020-PHI
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City – April 2016

Area prices up 0.9 percent since February and 0.6 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City increased 0.9 percent over the last two months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the recent increase reflected higher prices for all items less food and energy (0.7 percent) and energy (6.3 percent). Meanwhile, prices for food decreased since February, down 1.0 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 increased 0.6 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) A 1.6-percent increase in the all items less food and energy index was moderated by an 8.1-percent drop in the energy index since April 2015. Food prices were unchanged over the year. (See table 1.)

Food

After decreasing 0.3 percent from December to February, the food index declined 1.0 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home declined 1.7 percent, while those for food away from home inched up 0.1 percent since February. Within the food at home component, lower prices for various items including uncooked beef roasts and tomatoes were moderated by higher prices for bread and cheese and related products, among others.

The food index was unchanged over the year, as price changes for its components offset one another. Prices for food away from home advanced 1.9 percent, while those for food at home declined 1.4 percent since last April.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 6.3 percent since February. This was due mostly to higher prices for gasoline, up 18.4 percent over the last two months. Prices for utility (piped) gas service also increased since February, up 4.3 percent, while those for electricity decreased, down 2.1 percent.

Energy prices fell 8.1 percent since April 2015, due largely to a 12.5-percent drop in gasoline prices. Utility (piped) gas service and electricity prices were also lower, down 8.3 and 1.1 percent, respectively, over the year.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.7 percent since February, reflecting higher prices for medical care (2.7 percent) and apparel (3.0 percent), among others. Moderating the two-month increase in the all items less food and energy index were decreases in prices for recreation (-1.0 percent) and education and communication (-0.5 percent).

Since April 2015, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.6 percent. Over-the-year price increases for medical care (3.9 percent), other goods and services (10.2 percent), and shelter (0.8 percent) contributed to the rise. Lower prices for recreation (-2.1 percent), among others, helped to moderate 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
Month20122013201420152016
2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month2-month12-month

February

0.72.20.71.80.51.0-0.2-0.10.30.3

April

0.82.00.11.10.51.40.50.00.90.6

June

-0.21.30.31.50.61.80.80.2  

August

0.91.40.51.10.01.3-0.5-0.3  

October

0.42.2-0.40.3-0.11.6-0.3-0.5  

December

-0.91.80.11.2-0.80.6-0.6-0.2  

The Consumer Price Index for June 2016 is scheduled to be released Friday, July 16, 2015 at 8:30 am (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/pdf/homch17.pdf.

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.
2016
Mar.
2016
Apr.
2016
Apr.
2015
Feb.
2016
Mar.
2016

All items

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243.132 245.3000.60.9 

All items (1967 = 100)

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702.393 708.658   
 

Food and beverages

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233.466 230.838-0.1-1.1 

Food

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233.070 230.8330.0-1.0 

Food at home

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243.583238.843239.473-1.4-1.70.3

Food away from home

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213.552 213.8251.90.1 

Alcoholic beverages

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235.136 227.954-1.1-3.1 
 

Housing

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249.542 250.1280.00.2 

Shelter

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309.464309.944309.9400.80.20.0

Rent of primary residence (1)

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288.746288.775288.9400.10.10.1

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

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318.459318.448318.6111.00.00.1

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

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318.459318.448318.6111.00.00.1

Fuels and utilities

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199.079 199.004-3.30.0 

Household energy

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165.632166.636165.555-4.70.0-0.6

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

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180.333181.039179.765-3.0-0.3-0.7

Electricity (1)

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195.412192.670191.220-1.1-2.1-0.8

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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142.122149.169148.295-8.34.3-0.6

Household furnishings and operations

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113.496 115.090-2.01.4 
 

Apparel

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109.401 112.7105.03.0 
 

Transportation

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193.887 202.730-1.04.6 

Private transportation

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191.655 198.933-2.13.8 

Motor fuel

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162.778169.166192.577-12.618.313.8

Gasoline (all types)

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160.516166.798189.998-12.518.413.9

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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156.871163.454186.848-13.319.114.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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169.973174.892198.353-9.316.713.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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171.690175.896195.686-8.614.011.3
 

Medical care

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498.090 511.7263.92.7 
 

Recreation (6)

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123.987 122.753-2.1-1.0 
 

Education and communication (6)

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133.729 133.1270.3-0.5 
 

Other goods and services

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508.129 512.27810.20.8 
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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172.197 175.165-1.31.7 

Commodities less food and beverages

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139.348 144.352-2.43.6 

Nondurables less food and beverages

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169.714 179.263-2.05.6 

Durables

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104.215 105.009-2.90.8 

Services

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315.048 316.5491.70.5 
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less shelter

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221.580 224.4160.51.3 

All items less medical care

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232.412 234.0720.30.7 

Commodities less food

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142.682 147.338-2.33.3 

Nondurables

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201.795 205.930-0.92.0 

Nondurables less food

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173.577 182.108-1.94.9 

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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328.082 330.7522.70.8 

Services less medical care services

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300.775 301.9751.60.4 

Energy

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165.074167.978175.523-8.16.34.5

All items less energy

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253.557 254.8391.40.5 

All items less food and energy

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259.638 261.5191.60.7 

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: Tuesday, May 17, 2016