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21-64-PHI
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington – December 2020

Area prices unchanged since October; up 1.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington was unchanged from October to December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Acting Regional Commissioner Frank Waligorski noted that rises in both the energy index (3.7 percent) and the food index (0.9 percent) were offset by a decline in the all items less food and energy index, down 0.4 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 1.1 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The over-the-year rise was due to increases in the all items less food and energy index (0.9 percent) and the food index (4.2 percent). The energy index declined since December 2019, down 3.3 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index increased 0.9 percent over the last 2 months. Prices for food away from home increased 1.2 percent since October, and those for food at home rose 0.7 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for items such as breakfast cereal and milk, while prices were lower for chicken and other uncooked poultry including turkey.

Over the year, the food index increased 4.2 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 5.4 percent, and those for food at home were up 3.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 3.7 percent since October. The 2-month increase was due to a 5.2-percent rise in gasoline prices. Prices were also higher for electricity (1.2 percent), while those for utility (piped) gas service decreased 0.2 percent since October.

Over the year, the energy index decreased 3.3 percent, led by a decline in gasoline prices, down 2.8 percent. Prices were also lower for utility (piped) gas service and electricity, down 2.4 and 0.3 percent, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy declined 0.4 percent from October to December. Lower prices for new and used motor vehicles (-3.2 percent) and shelter (-0.5 percent), among others, were moderated by higher prices for household furnishings and operations (5.7 percent) and other goods and services (1.4 percent).

Since December 2019, the index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent. Prices were higher for household furnishings and operations (9.5 percent) and shelter (1.4 percent), among others.

Table A. Philadelphia CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

February

0.3 0.3 0.7 2.1 0.4 0.5 0.8 1.5 1.0 2.6

April

0.9 0.6 0.0 1.3 0.9 1.4 1.3 1.9 -1.3 -0.1

June

0.3 0.1 -0.3 0.7 0.2 1.9 0.5 2.1 0.6 0.1

August

-0.2 0.4 0.5 1.4 0.3 1.7 0.5 2.3 0.8 0.4

October

0.6 1.3 0.0 0.8 0.0 1.6 -0.4 1.9 0.0 0.8

December

-0.1 1.7 -0.1 0.8 -0.7 1.0 -0.3 2.4 0.0 1.1

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on December 2020 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 December 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
Oct.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020
Dec.
2019
Oct.
2020
Nov.
2020

All items

259.979   259.991 1.1 0.0  

All items (1967 = 100)

751.064   751.098      

Food and beverages

247.051   249.181 4.2 0.9  

Food

247.742   250.028 4.2 0.9  

Food at home

246.780 248.246 248.563 3.2 0.7 0.1

Cereals and bakery products

321.042   323.827 5.8 0.9  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

272.367   269.272 1.0 -1.1  

Dairy and related products

202.787   207.173 -0.3 2.2  

Fruits and vegetables

282.903   287.786 6.6 1.7  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

163.669   163.582 2.0 -0.1  

Other food at home

222.392   225.244 3.0 1.3  

Food away from home

242.828   245.658 5.4 1.2  

Alcoholic beverages

234.544   234.240 3.6 -0.1  

Housing

271.197   272.542 2.0 0.5  

Shelter

340.424 340.651 338.785 1.4 -0.5 -0.5

Rent of primary residence

319.729 320.052 319.459 1.7 -0.1 -0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

353.507 353.558 351.032 1.6 -0.7 -0.7

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

353.507 353.558 351.032 1.6 -0.7 -0.7

Fuels and utilities

202.342   206.317 -1.8 2.0  

Household energy

161.337 162.040 165.433 -3.5 2.5 2.1

Energy services

177.499 177.567 178.909 -1.0 0.8 0.8

Electricity

176.864 176.285 179.036 -0.3 1.2 1.6

Utility (piped) gas service

167.062 168.508 166.746 -2.4 -0.2 -1.0

Household furnishings and operations

118.459   125.264 9.5 5.7  

Apparel

103.780   104.857 4.9 1.0  

Transportation

206.646   203.212 -3.8 -1.7  

Private transportation

208.411   206.816 -1.8 -0.8  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

103.127   99.813 1.5 -3.2  

New vehicles(1)

178.113   178.269 0.2 0.1  

Used cars and trucks(1)

286.146   279.545 10.1 -2.3  

Motor fuel

220.157 217.678 231.620 -3.1 5.2 6.4

Gasoline (all types)

217.615 215.124 228.858 -2.8 5.2 6.4

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

214.274 211.654 225.129 -3.1 5.1 6.4

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

227.030 226.593 242.613 -0.3 6.9 7.1

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

223.450 221.847 236.041 -1.1 5.6 6.4

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

633.992   649.834 -10.8 2.5  

Medical care

560.624   554.900 0.8 -1.0  

Recreation(3)

125.998   124.668 -1.3 -1.1  

Education and communication(3)

133.607   133.260 -0.3 -0.3  

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

1,053.842   1,055.263 0.3 0.1  

Other goods and services

568.161   575.979 3.6 1.4  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

182.653   185.216 3.1 1.4  

Commodities less food and beverages

147.995   150.628 2.4 1.8  

Nondurables less food and beverages

184.866   186.539 -1.3 0.9  

Durables

105.874   108.868 7.0 2.8  

Services

337.943   335.334 0.0 -0.8  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

233.420   233.994 1.0 0.2  

All items less medical care

247.268   247.522 1.1 0.1  

Commodities less food

151.097   153.674 2.4 1.7  

Nondurables

216.890   218.800 1.7 0.9  

Nondurables less food

187.796   189.362 -1.0 0.8  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

342.826   339.162 -1.4 -1.1  

Services less medical care services

321.174   318.666 -0.2 -0.8  

Energy

182.517 182.064 189.281 -3.3 3.7 4.0

All items less energy

270.255   269.652 1.4 -0.2  

All items less food and energy

276.696   275.535 0.9 -0.4  

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, January 13, 2021