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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City – August 2010 (PDF)
Area Prices 0.2 Percent Higher Since June and 1.1 Percent Higher Over the Year
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City area edged up 0.2 percent from June to August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, attributed the recent advance to an increase in the all items less food and energy index (0.4 percent); both the food and energy indexes decreased over the last two months, down 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. The bimonthly advance in the all items less food and energy index was led by seasonal increases in both the education and communication index and the apparel index. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, two-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.) Since August 2009, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 1.2 percent. Prices also increased for both food (1.2 percent) and energy (0.2 percent) over the year.
Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Philadelphia–Wilmington–Atlantic City, August 2007 to August 2010 (not seasonally adjusted)
Food prices decreased 0.6 percent from June to August, following a 1.1-percent increase in the previous bimonthly period. The recent decline largely reflected lower prices for food at home, which fell 0.8 percent since June. Lower prices for food away from home (-0.2 percent) also contributed to the two-month decrease in the food index.
Since August 2009, the food index advanced 1.2 percent. Both components of the food index had price increases over the year—prices for food at home rose 1.6 percent and those for food away from home, 0.7 percent.
The energy index fell 0.4 percent since June. Lower prices for gasoline, down 1.1 percent over the last two months, dominated the recent decline in the energy index. Utility (piped) gas service prices were also lower (-0.4 percent), while prices increased for both electricity (0.4 percent) and fuel oil from June to August.
The energy index edged up 0.2 percent over the last 12 months, led by an increase in prices for fuel oil. Higher prices for electricity, up 1.3 percent, also contributed to the 12-month advance in the energy index. Partially offsetting these advances, the index for utility (piped) gas service—which has not recorded an over-the-year advance since February 2009—declined 7.9 percent since last August. Gasoline prices also decreased over the year, down 0.4 percent.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent from June to August. Within this grouping, price increases were led by education and communication (1.3 percent) and apparel (2.6 percent), both recording seasonal advances. Lower prices for shelter (-0.2 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence (-0.5 percent), helped to moderate the two-month advance in the all items less food and energy index.
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 1.2 percent. Higher prices for new and used motor vehicles, particularly used cars and trucks, and owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence (0.8 percent) led the 12-month advance. A 2.3-percent decline in prices for apparel—the first over-the-year decline since June 2009—helped to moderate the increase in the all items less food and energy index since last August.
The October 2010 Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).
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 87 percent of the total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers 32 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 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 25,000 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/homch17_a.htm.
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-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.
Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; TDD message referral phone number: 1-800-877-8339.For personal assistance or further information on Consumer Price Indexes, as well as other Bureau products, contact the Mid-Atlantic Information Office at (215) 597-3282 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.
Last Modified Date: September 21, 2010