Tuesday, September 14, 2021
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington increased 0.6 percent from June to August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that the recent increase was the smallest of 2021 and was due largely to an increase in the all items less food and energy index (0.5 percent). The energy index and the food index also increased over the 2-month period, up 2.4 and 0.2 percent, respectively. Across the subcomponents of the major category of all items less food and energy and the overall food group, there were a number of indexes where prices declined since June. (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 rose 4.6 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The over-the-year rise was due largely to an increase in the all items less food and energy index (4.1 percent). The energy index and the food index also increased since August 2020, up 19.3 and 1.7 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)
The food index increased 0.2 percent over the last 2 months following 2-month increases of 1.4 and 1.2 percent in April and June, respectively. Prices for food away from home rose 1.0 percent since June, while those for food at home decreased 0.5 percent after increases of 1.2 percent in April and 2.2 percent in June. Within the food at home component, prices were lower for items such as breakfast cereal and rice, pasta, cornmeal; while prices were higher for pork chops and eggs.
Over the year, the food index increased 1.7 percent, the fastest rate of 2021 so far. Prices for food away from home rose just 3.1 percent, the smallest over-the-year increase since an identical rise in December 2019, and those for food at home were up 0.5 percent, reversing the trend for much of 2021 where the price index was lower than the previous year.
The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, increased 2.4 percent since June. The 2-month increase reflected a 3.4-percent rise in gasoline prices. Prices were also higher for utility (piped) gas service, up 4.3 percent, and electricity, up 0.5 percent since June.
Over the year, the energy index advanced 19.3 percent, led by a 37.0-percent jump in gasoline prices, in line with exceptionally high increases in April and June. Prices were also higher for electricity, up 1.4 percent – the largest 12-month increase since an extremely high change of 29.7 percent in January 2020, and for utility (piped) gas service, up 3.2 percent over the year following declines that began in December 2019.
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.5 percent from June to August. Higher prices for shelter (0.8 percent) and new vehicles (2.2 percent) were moderated by lower prices for medical care (-1.5 percent) and public transportation.
Since August 2020, the index for all items less food and energy advanced 4.1 percent. Prices were higher for new and used motor vehicles (24.7 percent, below the record increase in June), particularly those for used cars and trucks (32.3 percent following a record 45.3 percent jump in June), along with prices for household furnishings and operations (12.4 percent).
The Consumer Price Index for October 2021 is scheduled to be released Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at 8:30 am (ET).
Data collection by personal visit for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) program has been suspended since March 16, 2020. When possible, data normally collected by personal visit were collected either online or by phone. Additionally, data collection in August was affected by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments. These factors resulted in an increase in the number of prices considered temporarily unavailable and imputed.
While the CPI program attempted to collect as much data as possible, many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month. Additional information is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-consumer-price-index.htm.
The Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington is published bi-monthly. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measures 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 U.S. population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 percent of the total U.S. 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; for most of the CPI-U the reference base is 1982-84 equals 100. An increase of 7 percent from the reference base, for example, is shown as 107.000. Alternatively, that relationship can also be expressed as the price of a base period market basket of goods and services rising from $100 to $107. For further details see the CPI home page on the internet at www.bls.gov/cpi and the CPI section of the BLS Handbook of Methods available on the internet at www.bls.gov/opub/hom/cpi/. 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, 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 individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.
|Expenditure category||Indexes||Percent change from|
All items (1967 = 100)
Food and beverages
Food at home
Cereals and bakery products
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
Dairy and related products
Fruits and vegetables
Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)
Other food at home
Food away from home
Rent of primary residence
Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)
Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)
Fuels and utilities
Utility (piped) gas service
Household furnishings and operations
New and used motor vehicles(3)
Used cars and trucks(1)
Gasoline (all types)
Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)
Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)
Motor vehicle insurance(1)
Education and communication(3)
Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)
Other goods and services
Commodity and service group
Commodities less food and beverages
Nondurables less food and beverages
Special aggregate indexes
All items less shelter
All items less medical care
Commodities less food
Nondurables less food
Services less rent of shelter(2)
Services less medical care services
All items less energy
All items less food and energy
Last Modified Date: Tuesday, September 14, 2021