Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Prices in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), increased by 2.0 percent for the 2 months ending in February 2023, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that this rise was a turn from December’s 0.4-percent decline. The all items less food and energy index, up 2.2 percent, led the increase. The food index also advanced whereas the energy index reported a decline. (Data in this report are not seasonally adjusted. Accordingly, month-to-month changes may reflect the impact of seasonal influences.)
The CPI-U was up 6.9 percent over the year and the index for all items less food and energy was again mainly responsible, up 6.3 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The pace of increase for food prices continued to moderate, up 10.9 percent following last year’s 13.1-percent peak in October. The energy price index increase of 6.6 percent over the year was the lowest since February 2021 and well below the peak of 46.0 percent in June 2022. (See table 1.)Food
Food prices rose by 1.9 percent for the 2 months ending in February, with increases in the food at home index (2.8 percent) and food away from home index (0.4 percent). The food at home index saw increases in all categories, led by the 9.2-percent price advance for nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials—the highest 2-month rise in that index since its inception in 2018. Prices for other food at home (up 2.9 percent) and for meats, poultry, fish and eggs (up 2.2 percent), increased after declines in December. Among the rest of the grocery categories, the fruits and vegetables index advanced 1.7 percent, the dairy and related products index rose by 1.1 percent, and prices for cereals and bakery products increased 0.3 percent after declining in December.
Over the year, food prices rose 10.9 percent as prices moderated from recent peaks for both food at home (up 13.3 percent) and food away from home (up 7.2 percent). All major grocery categories were up over the year although they were also lower than peaks posted in the last year. Increases for other food at home (21.2 percent) and cereals and bakery products (14.8 percent) led the grocery increase while prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs were up 8.6 percent, the smallest increase since December 2020.Energy
The energy index recorded its fourth consecutive bi-monthly decline, as prices fell 0.1 percent for the 2 months ending in February. The bi-monthly decrease was mainly due to continuing lower prices for gasoline (-2.1 percent) and for fuel oil. Offsetting the decrease, the electricity index rose 1.9 percent and the utility (piped) gas index advanced 1.4 percent over the 2-month period.
Energy prices increased 6.6 percent over the year, the lowest of 1-year increases since February 2021 and considerably below last June’s 46.0-percent peak. The electricity index increased 15.5 percent—marking 14 consecutive double-digit increases that peaked at 20.5 percent—and the index for utility (piped) gas service was up 19.7 percent, the 15th consecutive double-digit increase but well below the June peak of 44.3 percent. The gasoline index decreased 5.2 percent over the year, the first decline since December 2020; gasoline prices also peaked in June at 59.3 percent and have generally posted increasingly smaller over-the-year increases since then.All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy reported a 2.2-percent rise in the latest 2-month period, the largest in nearly 33 years. The rise was led by higher prices for shelter (2.4 percent); other goods and services (12.2 percent—the highest increase since the index began in 1976); and apparel (7.6 percent). Within the shelter index, the advance was led by owners’ equivalent rent of residences (1.8 percent), followed by lodging away from home, and rent of primary residence prices were up 1.6 percent. Most other major categories in the all items less food and energy index also increased: household furnishings and operations (up 2.4 percent); education and communication (up 1.0 percent); recreation (up 0.7 percent); and medical care prices (up 0.2 percent). Partially offsetting the overall index increase were price decreases for used cars and trucks (down 3.3 percent) and public transportation.
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy rose 6.3 percent, the largest since April 2022. The recent increase was mainly driven by an 8.4-percent increase in the shelter index, the highest in over 20 years. Within shelter, the index for owners’ equivalent rent of residences advanced 7.6 percent and rent of primary residences rose 8.3 percent (the highest 12-month increase since 1985, part of general increases over the last 2 years). The household furnishings and operations index advanced 9.3 percent, rising after a low of 3.9 percent in October; and the medical care index was up 4.4 percent. The other goods and services index was up 12.2 percent over the year, the highest 12-month increase since February 1991. The new and used motor vehicles index continued to moderate, up 1.5 percent, well below the series-high of 28.8 percent in February 2022. Within that index, used cars and trucks declined 13.6 percent, the largest decline since the index began in 2018.
The April 2023 Consumer Price Index for the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington area is scheduled to be released on May 10, 2023.
The Consumer Price Index for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington is published bi-monthly. 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 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; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.
|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)
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, March 14, 2023