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PLS – 4496
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Friday, February 20, 2009
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Philadelphia Area Consumer Price Index:  January 2009 (PDF)

Largest Over-the-Year Decline in Energy Prices since December 1986

Philadelphia area prices for energy and shelter fell in January, while food at home prices were unchanged over the month, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.  Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that energy prices dropped 19.6 percent from January 2008 to January 2009—the largest 12-month decrease since December 1986.

Energy prices fell for the sixth consecutive month, down 35.2 percent since July and 2.0 percent since December.  The recent one-month decline was largely due to lower gasoline prices, which also registered their sixth straight monthly decrease, falling 57.4 percent since July and 4.8 percent over the month.  Over the year, gasoline prices were 43.4 percent lower—the largest 12-month decline since the inception of the index in December 1977.  Lower fuel oil prices in January also contributed to the recent decline in energy prices. Utility (piped) gas service prices were unchanged in January, while a 0.4-percent increase in electricity prices helped to moderate the recent decrease in energy prices.  Since last January, prices rose for both utility gas (8.4 percent) and electricity (4.8 percent).  (See table 1.)

The Philadelphia area energy index stood at 175.728 on the 1982-84 base, which means that energy users in the Philadelphia area would have had to spend $17.57 last month for a group of energy items that cost $10.00 in 1982-84.

Shelter prices edged down 0.3 percent in January due almost entirely to a 0.7-percent decrease in the owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence index.  Over the year, the owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence index was 0.7 percent lower—the first 12-month decline since the inception of the index in December 1982.  The rent of primary residence index inched down 0.1 percent since December but was 2.5 percent higher over the last 12 months.  Partially offsetting the one-month declines in these two published components of the shelter index were higher prices for other lodging away from home, including hotels and motels.  The overall shelter index was unchanged since last January.

The Philadelphia area shelter index stood at 272.478 on the 1982-84 base, which means that local residents would have had to spend $27.25 last month for various types of shelter that cost $10.00 in 1982-84.

The food at home index was unchanged since December.  Lower prices for a number of items including uncooked beef steaks and other meats were offset by higher prices for a variety of items such as other fresh vegetables and citrus fruits.  Prices for food at home rose 2.4 percent over the last 12 months.

The Philadelphia area food at home index stood at 219.226 on the 1982-84 base, which means that grocery shoppers in the Philadelphia area would have had to spend $21.92 last month for a market basket of food items that cost $10.00 in 1982-84.

The Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, Pa.-N.J.- Del.-Md., Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (Cmsa) includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties in New Jersey; New Castle County in Delaware; and Cecil County in Maryland.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from-
Nov. 2008 Dec. 2008 Jan. 2009 Jan. 2008 Nov. 2008 Dec. 2008

All items

- 218.186 - - - -

Food and beverages

- 206.753 - - - -

Food

- 206.530 - - - -

Food at home

219.450 219.333 219.226 2.4 -0.1 0.0

Food away from home

- 184.989 - - - -

Alcoholic beverages

- 207.062 - - - -

Housing

- 229.663 - - - -

Shelter

274.094 273.168 272.478 0.0 -0.6 -0.3

Rent of primary residence (1)

258.352 259.125 258.748 2.5 0.2 -0.1

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence (1) (2)

280.238 280.538 278.615 -0.7 -0.6 -0.7

Fuels and utilities

- 208.826 - - - -

Household energy

195.374 189.270 188.238 0.0 -3.7 -0.5

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

211.158 207.290 207.894 5.9 -1.5 0.3

Electricity (1)

192.944 192.963 193.809 4.8 0.4 0.4

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

252.664 238.916 238.881 8.4 -5.5 0.0

Household furnishings and operations

- 125.330 - - - -

Apparel

- 90.678 - - - -

Transportation

- 169.009 - - - -

Private transportation

- 165.884 - - - -

Motor fuel

210.276 165.279 157.266 -42.5 -25.2 -4.8

Gasoline (all types)

204.299 160.046 152.416 -43.4 -25.4 -4.8

Gasoline, unleaded regular (3)

201.867 156.235 149.463 -45.0 -26.0 -4.3

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (3) (4)

206.413 164.784 155.016 -40.6 -24.9 -5.9

Gasoline, unleaded premium (3)

198.766 161.157 152.520 -38.7 -23.3 -5.4

Medical care

- 423.742 - - - -

Recreation (5)

- 122.410 - - - -

Education and communication (5)

- 126.959 - - - -

Other goods and services

- 389.677 - - - -
Commodity and service group            

Commodities

- 159.128 - - - -

Commodities less food and beverages

- 132.985 - - - -

Nondurables less food and beverages

- 153.464 - - - -

Durables

- 109.661 - - - -

Services

- 278.869 - - - -
Special aggregate indexes            

All items less medical care

- 209.632 - - - -

All items less shelter

- 200.707 - - - -

Commodities less food

- 135.593 - - - -

Nondurables

- 180.001 - - - -

Nondurables less food

- 156.422 - - - -

Services less rent of shelter (2)

- 291.971 - - - -

Services less medical care services

- 267.172 - - - -

Energy

199.725 179.326 175.728 -19.6 -12.0 -2.0

All items less energy

- 224.270 - - - -

All items less food and energy

- 229.523 - - - -

Footnotes
1 This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series were calculated using a geometric means estimator.
2 Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
3 Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
4 Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
5 Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
- Data not available.
Note: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: September 23, 2009