For release: Thursday, August 18, 2011 PLS-4807

Technical information: (215) 597-3282 • BLSInfoPhiladelphia@bls.govwww.bls.gov/ro3
Media contact: (215) 861-5600 • BLSMediaPhiladelphia@bls.gov


Consumer Price Index, Pittsburgh – First Half 2011 (PDF)

Local Prices up 3.8 Percent Over the Year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the Pittsburgh area rose 3.8 percent from the first half of 2010 to the first half of 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the recent 12-month advance was the largest since the second half of 2008. The rise in the all items index was due to increases in the indexes for all items less food and energy (2.3 percent), energy (14.9 percent) and food (4.4 percent). The 12-month advance in the all items less food and energy index reflected higher prices for shelter and medical care, among others, while the increase in the energy index was largely due to higher prices for gasoline. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Chart 1. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Pittsburgh, first half 2008 to first half 2011  (not seasonally adjusted)

Food

Food prices rose 4.4 percent since the first half of 2010. The over-the-year advance was due largely to higher prices for food at home, up 5.7 percent. The food away from home index also increased since last year, rising 3.2 percent.

Energy

The energy index jumped 14.9 percent since the first half of 2010. The recent advance in energy prices was due mainly to a rise in gasoline prices, up 27.3 percent over the last 12 months. Electricity prices also rose over the last year, up 3.4 percent. Partially offsetting these advances were lower prices for utility (piped) gas service, down 6.0 percent from their year-ago levels. The utility gas service index has posted uninterrupted over-the-year decreases since the first half of 2009.  

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent from a year ago. Within this grouping, price increases were led by shelter (1.2 percent), particularly owners’ equivalent of primary residence (1.3 percent), and medical care (5.2 percent). Higher prices for apparel (4.6 percent) also contributed to the 12-month increase in the all items less food and energy index.

 

Technical Note

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 26,000 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 Pittsburgh, Pa., Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties.

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.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes for semiannual averages and percent changes for selected periods, Pittsburgh, PA (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
1st Half
2010
2nd Half
2010
1st Half
2011
1st Half
2010
2nd Half
2010

All items

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214.470 216.345 222.651 3.8 2.9
 

Food and beverages

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220.437 223.649 229.365 4.1 2.6

Food

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220.195 223.596 229.801 4.4 2.8

Food at home

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216.892 219.750 229.224 5.7 4.3

Food away from home

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225.633 230.649 232.882 3.2 1.0

Alcoholic beverages

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222.532 223.383 222.964 0.2 -0.2
 

Housing

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213.438 213.267 217.093 1.7 1.8

Shelter

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234.171 234.237 237.067 1.2 1.2

Rent of primary residence (1)

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201.240 202.116 205.888 2.3 1.9

Owners' equivalent rent of residences (1) (2)

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230.998 230.735 234.032 1.3 1.4

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

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230.998 230.735 234.032 1.3 1.4

Fuels and utilities

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234.080 233.255 (R) 241.508 3.2 3.5

Household energy

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222.685 218.478 (R) 230.295 3.4 5.4

Energy services (1) (3)

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219.195 213.544 (R) 218.894 -0.1 2.5

Electricity (1)

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175.802 171.601 181.717 3.4 5.9

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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242.789 235.764 (R) 228.191 -6.0 -3.2

Household furnishings and operations

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145.269 145.488 147.909 1.8 1.7
 

Apparel

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147.317 150.399 154.110 4.6 2.5
 

Transportation

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167.709 171.559 186.540 11.2 8.7

Private transportation

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168.299 172.283 186.970 11.1 8.5

Motor fuel

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245.995 249.627 313.151 27.3 25.4

Gasoline (all types)

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248.823 252.442 316.742 27.3 25.5

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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245.513 248.968 314.252 28.0 26.2

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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266.405 270.206 336.983 26.5 24.7

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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243.518 247.821 303.780 24.7 22.6
 

Medical care

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388.146 395.875 408.278 5.2 3.1
 

Recreation (6)

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112.782 111.304 113.494 0.6 2.0
 

Education and communication (6)

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137.715 141.222 140.412 2.0 -0.6
 

Other goods and services

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377.989 381.923 388.186 2.7 1.6
 

Commodity and service group

 

Commodities

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186.836 189.161 198.434 6.2 4.9

Commodities less food and beverages

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167.493 169.347 180.225 7.6 6.4

Nondurables less food and beverages

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210.810 213.227 232.659 10.4 9.1

Durables

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121.494 122.755 124.823 2.7 1.7

Services

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244.880 246.430 250.396 2.3 1.6
 

Special aggregate indexes

 

All items less medical care

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205.662 207.295 213.305 3.7 2.9

All items less shelter

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209.464 212.194 219.995 5.0 3.7

Commodities less food

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169.697 171.518 182.016 7.3 6.1

Nondurables

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215.976 218.789 231.498 7.2 5.8

Nondurables less food

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211.576 213.887 231.986 9.6 8.5

Services less rent of shelter (2)

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261.891 265.481 270.861 3.4 2.0

Services less medical care services

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233.966 235.196 238.806 2.1 1.5

Energy

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239.420 238.574 (R) 275.169 14.9 15.3

All items less energy

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214.097 215.923 219.789 2.7 1.8

All items less food and energy

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213.831 215.379 218.835 2.3 1.6

Footnotes
(1) This index series was calculated using a Laspeyres estimator. All other item stratum index series converted to a geometric means estimator in January 1999.
(2) Indexes on a December 1982=100 base.
(3) This index series was formerly titled Gas (piped) and electricity.
(4) Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
(5) Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
(6) Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
(R) Revised.

Note: Index applies to a 6-month period as a whole, not to any specific date.

 

Last Modified Date: August 19, 2011