Web site: www.bls.gov/ro3/ PLS - 4511
For Release:
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Information: Gerald Perrins
(215) 597-3282
Media Contact: Sheila Watkins
(215) 861-5600

SOUTH REGION CONSUMER PRICE INDEX: FEBRUARY 2009 (PDF)

 

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the South1 increased 0.5 percent in February to 205.343 (1982-84=100), the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.  Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the increase was predominately due to higher prices for transportation and apparel.  (See chart A.)  The energy index increased 2.9 percent over the month, while food costs inched down 0.1 percent.  Over the same period, the core inflation rate, as measured by the all items less food and energy index, rose 0.4 percent.  (See table 1.)

Chart A.  1-month and 12-month percent changes ended February 2009 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the South region, not seasonally adjusted

1-month and 12-month percent changes ended February 2009 for the major categories of the CPI-U for the South region, not seasonally adjusted

chart data

Over the last 12 months, prices in the South inched up 0.1 percent, as higher costs for 6 of the 8 categories were nearly offset by a sharp decrease in transportation costs.  Energy costs in the region declined 17.5 percent, while food prices increased 5.0 percent since last February.  Over the same period, the all items less food and energy index (core inflation), advanced 1.7 percent.

Among the major categories, the transportation index increased 2.1 percent in February, dominated by higher costs for motor fuel, which jumped 7.6 percent.  Also contributing to the one-month advance in transportation prices was a 0.8-percent increase in prices for new and used motor vehicles.  Over the year, transportation costs decreased 13.1 percent, primarily as a result of a 37.2-percent drop in motor fuel prices.

Reflecting seasonal patterns, apparel costs increased 2.5 percent over the month.  Prices for apparel were unchanged over the year.

The index for medical care increased 0.6 percent over the month, as costs for medical care services (0.6 percent) and medical care commodities (0.7 percent) both advanced.  Over the year, the medical care index rose 2.5 percent, as prices increased for medical care services (2.6 percent) and medical care commodities (2.3 percent).

The index for housing was little changed over the month, up 0.1 percent.  The shelter index, which includes rent of primary residence, lodging away from home, owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence, and tenants’ and household insurance, inched up 0.1 percent since January.  Household furnishings and operations costs increased 0.6 percent over the month, while costs for fuels and utilities decreased 0.4 percent.  Since February 2008, the housing index rose 3.0 percent in the South.  Higher prices for shelter (2.1 percent) and fuels and utilities (8.6 percent) were largely responsible for the 12-month increase in the housing index.  Costs for household furnishings and operations were also higher over the year, advancing 2.1 percent.

The recreation index increased 0.4 percent over the month.  Since February 2008, the recreation index increased 1.4 percent.

The other goods and services index (which includes tobacco and smoking products, personal care products and services, and miscellaneous personal goods) edged up 0.2 percent over the month to a level 2.6 percent higher than a year ago.

The food and beverages index inched down 0.1 percent in February, as a 0.3-percent decline in costs for food at home was nearly offset by a 0.1-percent increase in costs for food away from home and a 0.5-percent rise in the alcoholic beverages index.  Over the year, the food and beverages index advanced 4.9 percent, as all three components increased.  Prices for food at home and food away from home both increased 5.0 percent and costs for alcoholic beverages rose 3.6 percent.

Prices for education and communication were unchanged over the month; since February 2008, this index increased 3.3 percent. 

Population size groups

Over the month, consumer prices in the South increased 0.4 percent in the largest metropolitan areas, those with 1.5 million or more residents (Size Class A).  Prices increased 0.6 percent in the mid-size areas, those with populations between 50,000 and 1.5 million (Size Class B/C), and increased 0.4 percent in the smallest areas, those with populations of less than 50,000 (Size Class D).  Over the past 12 months, consumer prices in the South edged up 0.2 percent in the largest areas (Size Class A) and were unchanged in the mid-sized areas (Size Class B/C).  In the smallest areas (Size Class D), prices increased 0.7 percent over the year.

Technical Note

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has updated the consumption expenditure weights in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to the 2005-06 period.  The updated expenditure weights for these indexes replace the 2003-2004 weights that were introduced effective with the January 2006 CPI release. As originally announced by BLS in December 1998, CPI expenditure weights will continue to be updated at two year intervals.

The CPI program completed its conversion to Computer Assisted Data Collection (CADC).  Due to the efficiencies gained from conversion to CADC, BLS has extended data collection to cover the entire month, beginning with data for January 2004.  CPI data collection is scheduled in terms of business days – weekdays excluding holidays.  Formerly, data collection covered three pricing periods, each comprising six business days in most months and five days in November and December.  Consequently, the last day of scheduled data collection was usually the 18th business day of the month.  This allowed time during the end of the month for the mailing of paper schedules back to the Washington Office and the data entry of the information in these schedules.  Starting in January 2004, the three pricing periods now have variable lengths, between six and eight business days long.  The third pricing period normally will end on the last business day of the month.

Local area CPI indexes are by-products of the national CPI program.  Because each local index is a small subset of the national index, it has a smaller sample size and is, therefore, subject to substantially more sampling and measurement error than the national index, although their long-term trends are quite similar.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics strongly urges users to consider adopting the national average CPI for use in escalator clauses.

We encourage users interested in learning more about changes to the CPI to contact the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Information on the Consumer Price Index and other surveys are available on our Web site at www.bls.gov. Current and historical BLS data are also posted on our Web site at www.bls.gov/ro3/. If you have additional questions, you can contact the Mid-Atlantic information office directly by dialing (215) 597-3282. Information from the Consumer Price Index program is available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Services: 1-800-877-8339.

1 South includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers and Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, South Region, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Item and group All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)
Urban Wage Earners and
Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
Historical
data
Index Percent change from
Historical
data
Index Percent change from
Feb.
2009
Feb.
2008
Jan.
2009
Feb.
2009
Feb.
2008
Jan.
2009

All items

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205.343 0.1 0.5
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201.150 -0.6 0.5

All items (Dec. 1977 = 100)

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333.094    
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325.784    
 

Food and beverages

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217.025 4.9 -0.1
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215.790 4.9 -0.1

Food

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217.682 5.0 -0.1
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216.439 5.0 -0.1

Food at home

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214.950 5.0 -0.3
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213.196 4.9 -0.3

Food away from home

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224.546 5.0 0.1
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223.756 5.1 0.2

Alcoholic beverages

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206.781 3.6 0.5
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205.609 3.7 0.6
 

Housing

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202.485 3.0 0.1
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201.734 3.4 0.1

Shelter

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222.739 2.1 0.1
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221.442 2.3 0.1

Rent of primary residence (1)

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222.855 3.1 0.0
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221.712 3.0 0.1

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

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225.405 2.3 0.0
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209.896 2.1 0.0

Fuels and utilities

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220.436 8.6 -0.4
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220.524 9.3 -0.2

Household energy

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192.458 9.3 -0.5
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190.716 9.9 -0.2

Gas (piped) and electricity (1)

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193.638 10.1 -0.4
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192.594 10.6 -0.2

Electricity (1)

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187.104 13.5 0.2
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184.556 13.3 0.2

Utility (piped) gas service (1)

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221.010 -5.5 -3.9
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227.686 -4.1 -2.4

Household furnishings and operations

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129.321 2.1 0.6
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124.200 2.4 0.8
 

Apparel

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130.132 0.0 2.5
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130.495 0.0 2.3
 

Transportation

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165.167 -13.1 2.1
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160.565 -14.9 2.0

Private transportation

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163.164 -13.6 2.3
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158.837 -15.3 2.2

New and used motor vehicles (3)

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92.000 -3.7 0.8
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88.357 -5.7 0.2

New vehicles

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139.074 -1.3 1.5
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138.646 -1.2 1.5

New cars and trucks (3) (4)

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94.614 -1.3 1.5
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New cars (4)

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143.358 0.3 0.9
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Used cars and trucks

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120.836 -11.3 -1.6
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121.478 -11.3 -1.6

Motor fuel

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164.205 -37.2 7.6
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164.125 -37.2 7.6

Gasoline (all types)

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162.671 -37.4 8.3
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162.628 -37.5 8.3

Gasoline, unleaded regular (4)

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160.448 -38.3 8.6
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160.394 -38.3 8.6

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (4) (5)

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171.961 -36.2 7.7
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171.877 -36.3 7.6

Gasoline, unleaded premium (4)

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166.603 -34.6 7.6
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166.345 -34.7 7.6
 

Medical care

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353.982 2.5 0.6
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356.871 2.5 0.7

Medical care commodities

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290.648 2.3 0.7
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283.715 2.4 0.8

Medical care services

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374.400 2.6 0.6
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378.899 2.6 0.6

Professional services

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313.839 3.2 0.6
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315.342 3.2 0.7
 

Recreation (3)

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115.142 1.4 0.4
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111.567 1.1 0.3
 

Education and communication (3)

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121.825 3.3 0.0
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117.530 3.0 0.0
 

Other goods and services

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337.888 2.6 0.2
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348.260 2.7 0.2
 

Commodities

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166.250 -4.0 1.1
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165.109 -5.5 1.1

Services

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245.298 3.2 0.1
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244.033 3.4 0.1
 

All items less shelter

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199.526 -0.8 0.7
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195.024 -1.8 0.8

All items less medical care

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196.781 0.0 0.5
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193.515 -0.8 0.5

Energy

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173.727 -17.5 2.9
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172.587 -18.4 3.3

All items less energy

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209.600 2.3 0.3
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205.083 2.1 0.2

All items less food and energy

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208.532 1.7 0.4
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202.992 1.5 0.3
 

South size A (more than 1,500,000)

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207.929 0.2 0.4
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204.501 -0.5 0.5

South size B/C (50,000 to 1,500,000) (6)

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130.380 0.0 0.6
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128.276 -0.7 0.6

South size D (nonmetropolitan, less than 50,000)

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206.671 0.7 0.4
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205.337 -0.1 0.5

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 for CPI-U on December 1982=100 base; CPI-W on a December 1984=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.
(6) Indexes on a December 1996=100 base.

South region includes the District of Columbia and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia.

 

Last Modified Date: September 23, 2009