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20-1745-PHI
Friday, September 11, 2020

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

Area prices up 0.8 percent since June; up 0.4 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington increased 0.8 percent from June to August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the recent two-month increase reflected a 0.8-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index also increased since June, up 2.9 percent, while the food index declined 0.5 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 0.4 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The over-the-year rise was due to increases in the all items less food and energy (0.8 percent) and the food index (3.9 percent). The energy index declined since August 2019, down 9.8 percent. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index decreased 0.5 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home decreased since June, down 2.0 percent, while those for food away from home rose 1.3 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for items such as breakfast cereal and cheese and related products, while prices were higher for carbonated drinks and processed fish and seafood.

Over the year, the food index increased 3.9 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 4.9 percent, and those for food at home were up 3.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, rose 2.9 percent since June. The two-month rise was due to a 5.6-percent increase in gasoline prices. Prices were lower for electricity, down 0.4 percent, while those for utility (piped) gas service were unchanged.

Over the year, the energy index decreased 9.8 percent, led by a drop in gasoline prices, down 13.7 percent. Prices were also lower for utility (piped) gas service and electricity, down 9.3 and 0.8 percent, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.8 percent from June to August. Higher prices were led by apparel (6.2 percent), medical care (1.3 percent), and shelter (0.2 percent), among others.

Since August 2019, the index for all items less food and energy increased 0.8 percent. Prices were higher for a number of items including shelter (1.9 percent) and medical care (3.4 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

December

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

The Consumer Price Index for October 2020 is scheduled to be released Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 8:30 am (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on August 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 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 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
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020
Aug.
2020
Aug.
2019
Jun.
2020
Jul.
2020

All items

257.983   259.965 0.4 0.8  

All items (1967 = 100)

745.298   751.024      

Food and beverages

249.143   247.708 3.9 -0.6  

Food

249.912   248.538 3.9 -0.5  

Food at home

254.671 251.468 249.641 3.2 -2.0 -0.7

Cereals and bakery products

333.041   326.923 5.5 -1.8  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

297.807   276.408 4.4 -7.2  

Dairy and related products

210.964   206.977 1.9 -1.9  

Fruits and vegetables

277.844   272.037 0.5 -2.1  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

167.259   170.459 4.0 1.9  

Other food at home

225.407   228.318 3.0 1.3  

Food away from home

238.118   241.139 4.9 1.3  

Alcoholic beverages

235.409   233.059 3.0 -1.0  

Housing

270.497   271.400 0.9 0.3  

Shelter

340.467 341.176 341.300 1.9 0.2 0.0

Rent of primary residence

316.667 317.276 318.309 2.2 0.5 0.3

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

351.601 352.352 353.144 2.9 0.4 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

351.601 352.352 353.144 2.9 0.4 0.2

Fuels and utilities

202.892   204.899 -4.3 1.0  

Household energy

162.727 164.592 164.402 -6.5 1.0 -0.1

Energy services

180.030 180.563 179.562 -3.9 -0.3 -0.6

Electricity

181.037 181.809 180.376 -0.8 -0.4 -0.8

Utility (piped) gas service

165.909 165.896 165.887 -9.3 0.0 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

115.511   115.948 -2.3 0.4  

Apparel

100.976   107.278 -3.1 6.2  

Transportation

200.284   203.815 -5.5 1.8  

Private transportation

201.663   206.790 -3.9 2.5  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

97.625   100.092 -1.3 2.5  

New vehicles(1)

174.854   175.581 -1.7 0.4  

Used cars and trucks(1)

253.189   277.154 4.4 9.5  

Motor fuel

204.322 215.591 215.549 -13.8 5.5 0.0

Gasoline (all types)

201.645 212.913 212.971 -13.7 5.6 0.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

197.968 209.372 209.552 -14.0 5.9 0.1

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

212.952 223.761 222.765 -11.9 4.6 -0.4

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

211.291 220.515 219.771 -12.3 4.0 -0.3

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

692.479   709.881 -2.0 2.5  

Medical care

556.977   564.443 3.4 1.3  

Recreation(3)

125.300   126.137 0.5 0.7  

Education and communication(3)

132.397   133.349 1.0 0.7  

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

1,055.577   1,048.279 0.3 -0.7  

Other goods and services

552.226   564.057 1.0 2.1  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

179.290   182.043 -0.7 1.5  

Commodities less food and beverages

142.508   146.884 -3.3 3.1  

Nondurables less food and beverages

178.514   185.195 -5.2 3.7  

Durables

101.604   103.901 -0.9 2.3  

Services

337.363   338.541 0.9 0.3  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

230.722   233.102 -0.4 1.0  

All items less medical care

245.342   247.092 0.1 0.7  

Commodities less food

145.734   149.970 -3.1 2.9  

Nondurables

214.641   217.383 -0.6 1.3  

Nondurables less food

181.836   188.026 -4.7 3.4  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

341.586   343.142 -0.2 0.5  

Services less medical care services

320.882   321.440 0.5 0.2  

Energy

177.655 182.930 182.794 -9.8 2.9 -0.1

All items less energy

268.496   270.214 1.2 0.6  

All items less food and energy

274.171   276.495 0.8 0.8  

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, September 11, 2020