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21-429-PHI
Wednesday, March 10, 2021

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

Area prices up 0.8 percent since December; up 1.0 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington increased 0.8 percent from December to February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Acting Regional Commissioner Frank Waligorski noted that the recent increase was due to increases in the all items less food and energy index (0.9 percent) and the energy index (5.3 percent), while the food index decreased, down 1.6 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 rose 1.0 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 (0.6 percent). The energy index and the food index also increased since February 2020, up 3.9 and 1.4 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index decreased 1.6 percent over the last 2 months. Prices for food at home declined 2.0 percent since December, and those for food away from home were down 1.2 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for items such as cheese and related products and carbonated drinks, while prices were higher for bread as well as flour and prepared flour mixes.

Over the year, the food index increased 1.4 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 3.7 percent, while those for food at home were down 0.4 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 5.3 percent since December. The 2-month increase was due to a 9.2-percent rise in gasoline prices. Prices were also higher for electricity (0.5 percent) and for utility (piped) gas service (0.3 percent) since December.

Over the year, the energy index increased 3.9 percent, led by an increase in gasoline prices, up 9.6 percent. Prices were lower for electricity and utility (piped) gas service, down 0.1 percent each.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.9 percent from December to February. Higher prices for medical care (4.0 percent) and apparel (3.4 percent), among others, were moderated by lower prices for household furnishings and operations (-0.5 percent).

Since February 2020, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent. Prices were higher for household furnishings and operations (8.5 percent) and medical care (4.0 percent), among others.

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

June

-0.3 0.7 0.2 1.9 0.5 2.1 0.6 0.1

August

0.5 1.4 0.3 1.7 0.5 2.3 0.8 0.4

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 April 2021 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 8:30 am (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on February 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 February 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 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 93 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 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 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 (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-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD, Core Based Statistical Area includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Burlington, Camden, 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-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021
Feb.
2021
Feb.
2020
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021

All items

259.991   262.167 1.0 0.8  

All items (1967 = 100)

751.098   757.386      

Food and beverages

249.181   245.253 1.5 -1.6  

Food

250.028   245.922 1.4 -1.6  

Food at home

248.563 248.120 243.619 -0.4 -2.0 -1.8

Cereals and bakery products

323.827   318.730 3.5 -1.6  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

269.272   266.679 -2.5 -1.0  

Dairy and related products

207.173   200.339 -3.6 -3.3  

Fruits and vegetables

287.786   281.846 4.3 -2.1  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

163.582   158.151 -4.3 -3.3  

Other food at home

225.244   220.814 -1.2 -2.0  

Food away from home

245.658   242.652 3.7 -1.2  

Alcoholic beverages

234.240   233.081 2.0 -0.5  

Housing

272.542   272.948 0.9 0.1  

Shelter

338.785 339.643 338.986 0.0 0.1 -0.2

Rent of primary residence

319.459 319.635 319.620 1.3 0.1 0.0

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

351.032 351.575 351.015 1.2 0.0 -0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

351.032 351.575 351.015 1.2 0.0 -0.2

Fuels and utilities

206.317   209.661 -0.3 1.6  

Household energy

165.433 167.249 169.000 -0.3 2.2 1.0

Energy services

178.909 180.119 179.668 -0.1 0.4 -0.3

Electricity

179.036 180.296 179.906 -0.1 0.5 -0.2

Utility (piped) gas service

166.746 167.769 167.220 -0.1 0.3 -0.3

Household furnishings and operations

125.264   124.676 8.5 -0.5  

Apparel

104.857   108.400 -3.3 3.4  

Transportation

203.212   209.462 -0.4 3.1  

Private transportation

206.816   212.180 1.5 2.6  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

99.813   100.711 2.9 0.9  

New vehicles(1)

178.269   182.884 2.7 2.6  

Used cars and trucks(1)

279.545   277.591 8.8 -0.7  

Motor fuel

231.620 244.347 253.167 9.4 9.3 3.6

Gasoline (all types)

228.858 241.366 249.958 9.6 9.2 3.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

225.129 237.636 246.430 9.6 9.5 3.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

242.613 251.724 257.509 9.2 6.1 2.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

236.041 248.047 254.775 9.7 7.9 2.7

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

649.834   645.662 -13.0 -0.6  

Medical care

554.900   576.928 4.0 4.0  

Recreation(3)

124.668   126.299 -0.1 1.3  

Education and communication(3)

133.260   133.641 0.4 0.3  

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

1,055.263   1,054.882 -0.1 0.0  

Other goods and services

575.979   581.137 4.4 0.9  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

185.216   186.636 2.8 0.8  

Commodities less food and beverages

150.628   154.211 3.6 2.4  

Nondurables less food and beverages

186.539   193.227 0.5 3.6  

Durables

108.868   109.912 7.8 1.0  

Services

335.334   338.275 0.0 0.9  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

233.994   236.851 1.4 1.2  

All items less medical care

247.522   248.859 0.7 0.5  

Commodities less food

153.674   157.162 3.6 2.3  

Nondurables

218.800   220.320 1.0 0.7  

Nondurables less food

189.362   195.625 0.5 3.3  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

339.162   345.131 0.0 1.8  

Services less medical care services

318.666   319.896 -0.7 0.4  

Energy

189.281 195.055 199.369 3.9 5.3 2.2

All items less energy

269.652   271.134 0.8 0.5  

All items less food and energy

275.535   278.099 0.6 0.9  

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: Wednesday, March 10, 2021