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21-1671-PHI
Tuesday, September 14, 2021

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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington – August 2021

Area prices up 0.6 percent since June; up 4.6 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington increased 0.6 percent from June to August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that the recent increase was the smallest of 2021 and was due largely to an increase in the all items less food and energy index (0.5 percent). The energy index and the food index also increased over the 2-month period, up 2.4 and 0.2 percent, respectively. Across the subcomponents of the major category of all items less food and energy and the overall food group, there were a number of indexes where prices declined since June. (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 rose 4.6 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The over-the-year rise was due largely to an increase in the all items less food and energy index (4.1 percent). The energy index and the food index also increased since August 2020, up 19.3 and 1.7 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index increased 0.2 percent over the last 2 months following 2-month increases of 1.4 and 1.2 percent in April and June, respectively. Prices for food away from home rose 1.0 percent since June, while those for food at home decreased 0.5 percent after increases of 1.2 percent in April and 2.2 percent in June. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for items such as breakfast cereal and rice, pasta, cornmeal; while prices were higher for pork chops and eggs.

Over the year, the food index increased 1.7 percent, the fastest rate of 2021 so far. Prices for food away from home rose just 3.1 percent, the smallest over-the-year increase since an identical rise in December 2019, and those for food at home were up 0.5 percent, reversing the trend for much of 2021 where the price index was lower than the previous year.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 2.4 percent since June. The 2-month increase reflected a 3.4-percent rise in gasoline prices. Prices were also higher for utility (piped) gas service, up 4.3 percent, and electricity, up 0.5 percent since June.

Over the year, the energy index advanced 19.3 percent, led by a 37.0-percent jump in gasoline prices, in line with exceptionally high increases in April and June. Prices were also higher for electricity, up 1.4 percent – the largest 12-month increase since an extremely high change of 29.7 percent in January 2020, and for utility (piped) gas service, up 3.2 percent over the year following declines that began in December 2019.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.5 percent from June to August. Higher prices for shelter (0.8 percent) and new vehicles (2.2 percent) were moderated by lower prices for medical care (-1.5 percent) and public transportation.

Since August 2020, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 4.1 percent. Prices were higher for new and used motor vehicles (24.7 percent, below the record increase in June), particularly those for used cars and trucks (32.3 percent following a record 45.3 percent jump in June), along with prices for household furnishings and operations (12.4 percent).

Table A. Philadelphia CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

February

0.7 2.1 0.4 0.5 0.8 1.5 1.0 2.6 0.8 1.0

April

0.0 1.3 0.9 1.4 1.3 1.9 -1.3 -0.1 1.2 3.5

June

-0.3 0.7 0.2 1.9 0.5 2.1 0.6 0.1 1.9 4.9

August

0.5 1.4 0.3 1.7 0.5 2.3 0.8 0.4 0.6 4.6

October

0.0 0.8 0.0 1.6 -0.4 1.9 0.0 0.8

December

-0.1 0.8 -0.7 1.0 -0.3 2.4 0.0 1.1

The Consumer Price Index for October 2021 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at 8:30 am (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on August 2021 Consumer Price Index Data

Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in August was affected by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the number of prices considered temporarily unavailable and imputed.

While the CPI program attempted to collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month. Additional information is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.htm.


Technical Note

The Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington is published bi-monthly. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measures 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 93 percent of the total U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. 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 75 urban areas across the country from about 5,000 housing units and approximately 22,000 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; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000. Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cpi/. 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-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD, Core Based Statistical Area includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Burlington, Camden, 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 individuals with sensory impairments 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-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Jun.
2021
Jul.
2021
Aug.
2021
Aug.
2020
Jun.
2021
Jul.
2021

All items

270.499   272.044 4.6 0.6  

All items (1967 = 100)

781.455   785.921      

Food and beverages

251.504   252.028 1.7 0.2  

Food

252.233   252.659 1.7 0.2  

Food at home

252.121 250.363 250.781 0.5 -0.5 0.2

Cereals and bakery products

329.566   322.289 -1.4 -2.2  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

295.828   300.504 8.7 1.6  

Dairy and related products

204.327   203.588 -1.6 -0.4  

Fruits and vegetables

275.783   257.132 -5.5 -6.8  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

170.638   171.953 0.9 0.8  

Other food at home

221.028   226.513 -0.8 2.5  

Food away from home

246.195   248.717 3.1 1.0  

Alcoholic beverages

238.375   240.393 3.1 0.8  

Housing

277.690   280.380 3.3 1.0  

Shelter

344.373 347.101 347.168 1.7 0.8 0.0

Rent of primary residence

324.064 325.402 326.468 2.6 0.7 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

354.398 355.378 355.879 0.8 0.4 0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

354.398 355.378 355.879 0.8 0.4 0.1

Fuels and utilities

212.873   215.703 5.3 1.3  

Household energy

171.720 175.400 174.345 6.0 1.5 -0.6

Energy services

180.200 182.987 183.051 1.9 1.6 0.0

Electricity

182.050 182.671 182.882 1.4 0.5 0.1

Utility (piped) gas service

164.267 171.503 171.250 3.2 4.3 -0.1

Household furnishings and operations

128.208   130.320 12.4 1.6  

Apparel

107.951   109.781 2.3 1.7  

Transportation

238.189   239.394 17.5 0.5  

Private transportation

243.756   246.861 19.4 1.3  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

123.972   124.773 24.7 0.6  

New vehicles(1)

207.562   212.134 20.8 2.2  

Used cars and trucks(1)

367.957   366.567 32.3 -0.4  

Motor fuel

285.626 291.477 295.323 37.0 3.4 1.3

Gasoline (all types)

282.217 288.004 291.875 37.0 3.4 1.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

278.607 284.539 288.299 37.6 3.5 1.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

289.291 294.165 298.758 34.1 3.3 1.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

284.908 289.415 293.654 33.6 3.1 1.5

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

653.356   658.517 -7.2 0.8  

Medical care

572.833   564.402 0.0 -1.5  

Recreation(3)

128.137   127.160 0.8 -0.8  

Education and communication(3)

134.206   136.208 2.1 1.5  

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)

1,069.904   1,089.373 3.9 1.8  

Other goods and services

586.000   595.343 5.5 1.6  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

197.900   199.563 9.6 0.8  

Commodities less food and beverages

167.075   169.139 15.2 1.2  

Nondurables less food and beverages

200.359   203.469 9.9 1.6  

Durables

125.249   126.361 21.6 0.9  

Services

343.547   344.964 1.9 0.4  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

246.213   247.338 6.1 0.5  

All items less medical care

257.717   259.685 5.1 0.8  

Commodities less food

169.919   171.995 14.7 1.2  

Nondurables

227.075   228.937 5.3 0.8  

Nondurables less food

202.663   205.717 9.4 1.5  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

350.318   350.286 2.1 0.0  

Services less medical care services

325.736   327.553 1.9 0.6  

Energy

212.878 217.342 218.066 19.3 2.4 0.3

All items less energy

279.097   280.330 3.7 0.4  

All items less food and energy

286.441   287.838 4.1 0.5  

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a December 1977=100 base
(2) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.

 

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, September 14, 2021