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19-84-PHI
Friday, January 11, 2019

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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington – December 2018

Area prices were down 0.7 percent since October; up 1.0 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington decreased 0.7 percent from October to December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the recent two-month decline reflected a 6.7-percent decrease in the energy index. The all items less food and energy index also decreased since October, down 0.2 percent, while the food index edged up 0.3 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 1.0 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The over-the-year rise was led by an increase in the all items less food and energy index (1.3 percent); the food index also advanced (0.7 percent). Prices for energy decreased since December 2017, down 1.8 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index increased 0.3 percent over the last two months. Prices rose for both food at home and food away from home, up 0.4 and 0.1 percent, respectively. Within the food at home component, prices were higher for various items including fresh fish and seafood and tomatoes, while prices were lower for items including uncooked ground beef and milk.

Over the year, the food index increased 0.7 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 1.9 percent, while those for food at home inched down 0.1 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 6.7 percent due to a 14.2-percent drop in gasoline prices since October. Prices were higher over the last two months for utility (piped) gas service (2.4 percent) and electricity (0.7 percent).

Over the year, the energy index declined 1.8 percent, due to price decreases for electricity (-4.7 percent) and gasoline (-3.3 percent). Prices were higher for utility (piped) gas service (5.0 percent) since December 2017.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged down 0.2 percent from October to December. Lower prices for apparel (-6.1 percent) and shelter (-0.5 percent), were moderated by higher prices for recreation (2.7 percent) and medical care (0.9 percent), among others.

Since December 2017, the index for all items less food and energy increased 1.3 percent. Prices were higher for a number of items including shelter (1.9 percent), medical care (3.4 percent), and new and used motor vehicles (3.2 percent).

Table A. Philadelphia CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

February

0.5 1.0 -0.2 -0.1 0.3 0.3 0.7 2.1 0.4 0.5

April

0.5 1.4 0.5 0.0 0.9 0.6 0.0 1.3 0.9 1.4

June

0.6 1.8 0.8 0.2 0.3 0.1 -0.3 0.7 0.2 1.9

August

0.0 1.3 -0.5 -0.3 -0.2 0.4 0.5 1.4 0.3 1.7

October

-0.1 1.6 -0.3 -0.5 0.6 1.3 0.0 0.8 0.0 1.6

December

-0.8 0.6 -0.6 -0.2 -0.1 1.7 -0.1 0.8 -0.7 1.0

The Consumer Price Index for February 2019 is scheduled to be released Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 8:30 am (ET).


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.
2018
Nov.
2018
Dec.
2018
Dec.
2017
Oct.
2018
Nov.
2018

All items

253.040   251.148 1.0 -0.7  

All items (1967 = 100)

731.020   725.552      

Food and beverages

234.970   235.294 0.6 0.1  

Food

235.027   235.718 0.7 0.3  

Food at home

237.833 237.630 238.792 -0.1 0.4 0.5

Cereals and bakery products

300.917   304.754 1.1 1.3  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

264.789   263.464 0.9 -0.5  

Dairy and related products

198.127   197.729 -1.7 -0.2  

Fruits and vegetables

271.611   277.402 -1.8 2.1  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

156.917   157.801 3.6 0.6  

Other food at home

216.165   215.157 -1.5 -0.5  

Food away from home

225.639   225.953 1.9 0.1  

Alcoholic beverages

231.652   226.670 -0.9 -2.2  

Housing

262.087   261.330 1.9 -0.3  

Shelter

327.249 324.087 325.729 1.9 -0.5 0.5

Rent of primary residence

304.156 304.293 306.115 2.7 0.6 0.6

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

333.824 333.962 335.753 2.4 0.6 0.5

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

333.824 333.962 335.753 2.4 0.6 0.5

Fuels and utilities

206.714   207.420 0.3 0.3  

Household energy

170.467 171.916 170.747 -0.7 0.2 -0.7

Energy services

176.826 178.673 179.151 -1.1 1.3 0.3

Electricity

174.678 176.805 175.825 -4.7 0.7 -0.6

Utility (piped) gas service

168.980 170.283 172.959 5.0 2.4 1.6

Household furnishings and operations

113.362   113.897 4.2 0.5  

Apparel

107.717   101.165 -0.1 -6.1  

Transportation

215.768   206.030 -1.1 -4.5  

Private transportation

214.992   206.321 -0.7 -4.0  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

97.405   98.082 3.2 0.7  

New vehicles(1)

178.463   177.965 0.9 -0.3  

Used cars and trucks(1)

250.706   253.475 1.2 1.1  

Motor fuel

266.561 242.629 229.111 -3.1 -14.0 -5.6

Gasoline (all types)

262.743 238.846 225.441 -3.3 -14.2 -5.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

259.647 235.308 221.855 -3.5 -14.6 -5.7

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

265.511 245.867 232.831 -2.9 -12.3 -5.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

263.923 244.807 232.905 -1.7 -11.8 -4.9

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

724.451   724.451 -10.9 0.0  

Medical care

526.709   531.533 3.4 0.9  

Recreation(3)

117.734   120.886 -1.2 2.7  

Education and communication(3)

130.650   130.622 0.5 0.0  

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

1,028.013   1,035.649 0.9 0.7  

Other goods and services

536.893   540.463 0.4 0.7  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

180.960   176.534 0.1 -2.4  

Commodities less food and beverages

150.253   144.501 -0.2 -3.8  

Nondurables less food and beverages

196.100   184.464 -0.7 -5.9  

Durables

101.239   100.821 0.6 -0.4  

Services

326.377   326.566 1.5 0.1  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

228.652   226.586 0.6 -0.9  

All items less medical care

241.510   239.310 0.8 -0.9  

Commodities less food

153.239   147.458 -0.2 -3.8  

Nondurables

217.575   210.792 -0.1 -3.1  

Nondurables less food

198.294   186.921 -0.7 -5.7  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

332.748   334.813 1.1 0.6  

Services less medical care services

311.561   311.432 1.3 0.0  

Energy

205.507 197.434 191.642 -1.8 -6.7 -2.9

All items less energy

260.147   259.665 1.3 -0.2  

All items less food and energy

267.021   266.360 1.3 -0.2  

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: Friday, January 11, 2019