Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Prices in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), advanced 0.8 percent in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Influenced by higher prices for shelter, a 0.6-percent rise in the all items less food and energy index led the overall increase as noted by Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee. The energy index advanced 3.5 percent, whereas the food index reported no change. (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 was up 3.9 percent over the year and the index for all items less food and energy was mainly responsible, up 4.6 percent due to rising shelter prices. (See chart 1 and table A.) Food prices were up 4.4 percent. The pace of decline in the energy index moderated with August’s 12-month decrease of just 3.4 percent after the June drop of 15.3 percent. (See table 1.)Food
Food prices were unchanged for the 2 months ending in August. Prices for food away from home increased 0.9 percent while the food at home index continued to decline, down 0.5 percent. Leading the decrease was dairy and related products, down 4.2 percent (the largest decline since the index’s inception in 2018) due in part to falling prices for milk. Prices for cereals and bakery products were down 2.4 percent, the fruits and vegetable index fell 1.1 percent, and nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials decreased 0.7 percent. The rest of the grocery categories tempered the decline in the food at home index, as other food at home rose 1.8 percent and prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 0.2 percent.
Over the year, food prices rose 4.4 percent. Prices for food away from home advanced 6.9 percent since a year ago, and prices for food at home rose 2.8 percent. Most of the major grocery categories were up over the year. Leading the increase was the diverse other food at home index (up 5.9 percent) as well as nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials prices, up 8.2 percent. Prices for fruits and vegetables rose 4.4 percent, cereals and bakery products advanced 1.4 percent, and dairy and related products prices increased 0.2 percent. Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was the only category to decline, down 3.5 percent—the largest decline since the index began in 2018.Energy
The energy index advanced 3.5 percent for the 2 months ending in August. The increase was mainly due to rising prices in the gasoline index (+7.2 percent). The fuel oil index also rose. Utility (piped) gas service increased 0.1 percent, whereas the electricity index fell 0.1 percent for the same period.
Energy prices decreased 3.4 percent over the year, largely due to a lower gasoline index (-8.8 percent) but fuel oil prices also declined, and the natural gas service index was down 10.4 percent. Offsetting the general declines, the electricity index was up 9.5 percent.All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy advanced 0.6 percent in the latest 2-month period. The rise was led by higher prices for shelter (0.9 percent) due largely to the owners’ equivalent rent of residences index (up 1.4 percent), followed by rent of primary residence (up 1.5 percent). Prices rose for education and communication up 1.6 percent, the largest price increase since August 2013 (+2.8 percent) — due to a 2.6-percent increase in tuition, other school fees, and childcare. Other major categories in the all items less food and energy index also increased: household furnishings and operations was up 1.5 percent, apparel was up 1.8 percent, and new and used motor vehicles up 0.9 percent. Partially offsetting the overall index rise were declines in the lodging away from home, other goods and services (-1.9 percent), medical care (-0.3 percent), and recreation (-0.2 percent) indexes.
Over the year, the index for all items less food and energy increased 4.6 percent. The recent increase was mainly driven by a 7.4-percent increase in the shelter index. Within shelter, the indexes for owners’ equivalent rent of residences advanced 7.4 percent and rent of primary residence rose 7.7 percent. Other categories also had increases. The household furnishings and operations index rose 6.0 percent; prices for other good and services rose 8.4 percent; education and communication up 2.0 percent; and recreation up 2.4 percent. Slightly tempering the overall increase was the medical care index down 1.5 percent—the largest over-the-year decline since the index began in 1970.
The October 2023 Consumer Price Index for the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington area is scheduled to be released on November 14, 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, 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 6,000 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: Wednesday, September 13, 2023