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20-76-PHI
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington – December 2019

Area prices down 0.3 percent since October; up 2.4 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington edged down 0.3 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 0.3-percent decreased in the all items less food and energy index and a 1.2-percent decline in the energy index, while the food index rose since October, up 0.1 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 2.4 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 (2.5 percent). The food index and energy index also advanced since December 2018, up 1.8 and 2.1 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index inched up 0.1 percent over the last two months. Prices for food away from home increased since October, up 0.6 percent, while those for food at home declined 0.3 percent. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for citrus fruits; bacon, breakfast sausage, and related products; and fresh fish and seafood; while prices were higher for eggs and pork chops.

Over the year, the food index increased 1.8 percent. Prices for food away from home rose 3.1 percent, and those for food at home were up 0.9 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 1.2 percent since October. The two-month decline was led by a 5.4-percent decrease in utility (piped) gas service prices. Prices were also lower for gasoline, down 0.7 percent, while those for electricity increased, up 0.8 percent.

Over the year, the energy index advanced 2.1 percent, due to higher gasoline prices, up 4.5 percent. Prices were also higher for electricity, up 2.2 percent. Utility (piped) gas service prices declined since December 2018, down 1.2 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy edged down 0.3 percent from October to December. Prices were lower for apparel (-9.0 percent) and shelter (-0.6 percent) while prices were higher for recreation (3.3 percent) and education and communication (0.7 percent).

Since December 2018, the index for all items less food and energy increased 2.5 percent. Prices were higher for a number of items including shelter (2.6 percent), medical care (3.6 percent), and recreation (4.5 percent), among others.

Table A. Philadelphia CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

February

-0.2 -0.1 0.3 0.3 0.7 2.1 0.4 0.5 0.8 1.5

April

0.5 0.0 0.9 0.6 0.0 1.3 0.9 1.4 1.3 1.9

June

0.8 0.2 0.3 0.1 -0.3 0.7 0.2 1.9 0.5 2.1

August

-0.5 -0.3 -0.2 0.4 0.5 1.4 0.3 1.7 0.5 2.3

October

-0.3 -0.5 0.6 1.3 0.0 0.8 0.0 1.6 -0.4 1.9

December

-0.6 -0.2 -0.1 1.7 -0.1 0.8 -0.7 1.0 -0.3 2.4

The Consumer Price Index for February 2020 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, March 11, 2020 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.
2019
Nov.
2019
Dec.
2019
Dec.
2018
Oct.
2019
Nov.
2019

All items

257.966   257.194 2.4 -0.3  

All items (1967 = 100)

745.248   743.021      

Food and beverages

239.360   239.228 1.7 -0.1  

Food

239.717   239.966 1.8 0.1  

Food at home

241.510 243.276 240.901 0.9 -0.3 -1.0

Cereals and bakery products

302.314   306.200 0.5 1.3  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

269.248   266.525 1.2 -1.0  

Dairy and related products

208.657   207.769 5.1 -0.4  

Fruits and vegetables

276.035   270.041 -2.7 -2.2  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

159.807   160.379 1.6 0.4  

Other food at home

216.665   218.616 1.6 0.9  

Food away from home

231.582   232.978 3.1 0.6  

Alcoholic beverages

231.661   226.047 -0.3 -2.4  

Housing

269.076   267.269 2.3 -0.7  

Shelter

336.156 335.282 334.247 2.6 -0.6 -0.3

Rent of primary residence

312.856 314.103 314.234 2.7 0.4 0.0

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

344.573 345.970 345.494 2.9 0.3 -0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

344.573 345.970 345.494 2.9 0.3 -0.1

Fuels and utilities

212.996   210.069 1.3 -1.4  

Household energy

174.313 174.307 171.353 0.4 -1.7 -1.7

Energy services

183.773 184.046 180.700 0.9 -1.7 -1.8

Electricity

178.283 178.225 179.659 2.2 0.8 0.8

Utility (piped) gas service

180.596 181.360 170.917 -1.2 -5.4 -5.8

Household furnishings and operations

115.167   114.433 0.5 -0.6  

Apparel

109.944   100.005 -1.1 -9.0  

Transportation

211.840   211.268 2.5 -0.3  

Private transportation

210.394   210.567 2.1 0.1  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

99.214   98.294 0.2 -0.9  

New vehicles(1)

179.138   177.892 0.0 -0.7  

Used cars and trucks(1)

255.555   254.010 0.2 -0.6  

Motor fuel

240.552 243.930 239.041 4.3 -0.6 -2.0

Gasoline (all types)

237.105 240.417 235.519 4.5 -0.7 -2.0

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

233.767 237.157 232.345 4.7 -0.6 -2.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

243.922 246.558 243.310 4.5 -0.3 -1.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

241.669 244.195 238.756 2.5 -1.2 -2.2

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

712.845   728.581 0.6 2.2  

Medical care

546.358   550.507 3.6 0.8  

Recreation(3)

122.272   126.350 4.5 3.3  

Education and communication(3)

132.661   133.598 2.3 0.7  

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

1,052.538   1,052.538 1.6 0.0  

Other goods and services

554.639   556.200 2.9 0.3  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

181.587   179.655 1.8 -1.1  

Commodities less food and beverages

149.551   147.132 1.8 -1.6  

Nondurables less food and beverages

192.922   188.945 2.4 -2.1  

Durables

102.660   101.717 0.9 -0.9  

Services

335.207   335.394 2.7 0.1  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

232.130   231.782 2.3 -0.1  

All items less medical care

245.788   244.794 2.3 -0.4  

Commodities less food

152.547   150.039 1.8 -1.6  

Nondurables

217.570   215.147 2.1 -1.1  

Nondurables less food

195.249   191.187 2.3 -2.1  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

341.577   344.066 2.8 0.7  

Services less medical care services

319.348   319.347 2.5 0.0  

Energy

198.140 199.403 195.740 2.1 -1.2 -1.8

All items less energy

266.560   265.978 2.4 -0.2  

All items less food and energy

273.766   273.055 2.5 -0.3  

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, January 14, 2020