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News Release Information

20-971-PHI
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

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Consumer Price Index, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington – April 2020

Area prices down 1.3 percent since February; down 0.1 percent over the year

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington declined 1.3 percent from February to April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Sheila Watkins noted that the recent two-month decrease was due largely to a 1.3-percent decline in the all items less food and energy index. The energy index also decreased since February, down 8.7 percent, while the food index rose 2.4 percent. (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 inched down 0.1 percent. (See chart 1 and table A.) The over-the-year decrease was led by a decline in the energy index (-16.1 percent). The food index and all items less food and energy index advanced since April 2019, up 4.8 and 0.6 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

Food

The food index increased 2.4 percent over the last two months. Prices for food at home increased since February, up 3.4 percent, and those for food away from home rose 1.1 percent.

Over the year, the food index increased 4.8 percent. Prices for food at home rose 5.3 percent, and those for food away from home were up 4.3 percent.

Energy

The energy index, which includes prices for household and transportation fuels, decreased 8.7 percent since February. The two-month decline was led by a 15.4-percent decrease in gasoline prices. Prices were also lower for electricity, down 1.3 percent, while those for utility (piped) gas service increased, up 1.3 percent.

Over the year, the energy index decreased 16.1 percent, due to a drop in gasoline prices, down 25.2 percent. Prices were also lower for utility (piped) gas service and electricity, down 8.6 and 2.2 percent, respectively.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy declined 1.3 percent from February to April. Lower prices were led by apparel (-7.9 percent), shelter (-0.2 percent), and recreation (-1.0 percent).

Since April 2019, the index for all items less food and energy increased 0.6 percent. Prices were higher for a number of items including shelter (2.3 percent), medical care (2.3 percent), and recreation (1.7 percent), among others.

Table A. Philadelphia CPI-U 2-month and 12-month percent changes, all items index, not seasonally adjusted
Month 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month 2-month 12-month

February

0.3 0.3 0.7 2.1 0.4 0.5 0.8 1.5 1.0 2.6

April

0.9 0.6 0.0 1.3 0.9 1.4 1.3 1.9 -1.3 -0.1

June

0.3 0.1 -0.3 0.7 0.2 1.9 0.5 2.1

August

-0.2 0.4 0.5 1.4 0.3 1.7 0.5 2.3

October

0.6 1.3 0.0 0.8 0.0 1.6 -0.4 1.9

December

-0.1 1.7 -0.1 0.8 -0.7 1.0 -0.3 2.4

The Consumer Price Index for June 2020 is scheduled to be released Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 8:30 am (ET).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on April 2020 Consumer Price Index Data

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 April 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/bls/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-bls-price-indexes.htm#CPI.


Technical Note

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 population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which covers approximately 29 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 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 (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/pdf/homch17.pdf.

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, 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 sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent changes for selected periods, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD, (1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted) (not seasonally adjusted)
Expenditure category Indexes Percent change from
Historical
data
Feb.
2020
Mar.
2020
Apr.
2020
Apr.
2019
Feb.
2020
Mar.
2020

All items

259.694   256.353 -0.1 -1.3  

All items (1967 = 100)

750.243   740.588      

Food and beverages

241.721   247.073 4.6 2.2  

Food

242.456   248.266 4.8 2.4  

Food at home

244.607 246.260 252.920 5.3 3.4 2.7

Cereals and bakery products

307.863   327.034 8.0 6.2  

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs

273.584   284.276 8.4 3.9  

Dairy and related products

207.872   217.414 8.6 4.6  

Fruits and vegetables

270.196   280.538 0.8 3.8  

Nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials(1)

165.201   162.962 3.3 -1.4  

Other food at home

223.455   229.341 4.0 2.6  

Food away from home

233.956   236.638 4.3 1.1  

Alcoholic beverages

228.575   226.835 0.9 -0.8  

Housing

270.445   269.467 1.3 -0.4  

Shelter

339.116 341.013 338.542 2.3 -0.2 -0.7

Rent of primary residence

315.622 316.873 317.499 3.2 0.6 0.2

Owners' equivalent rent of residences(2)

346.809 347.371 348.840 2.7 0.6 0.4

Owners' equivalent rent of primary residence(2)

346.809 347.371 348.840 2.7 0.6 0.4

Fuels and utilities

210.237   203.716 -5.3 -3.1  

Household energy

169.575 166.482 163.492 -8.4 -3.6 -1.8

Energy services

179.912 180.481 179.011 -4.8 -0.5 -0.8

Electricity

180.168 180.089 177.855 -2.2 -1.3 -1.2

Utility (piped) gas service

167.409 169.328 169.586 -8.6 1.3 0.2

Household furnishings and operations

114.859   115.743 0.8 0.8  

Apparel

112.123   103.217 -5.1 -7.9  

Transportation

210.335   195.070 -9.4 -7.3  

Private transportation

208.996   196.799 -8.6 -5.8  

New and used motor vehicles(3)

97.894   97.640 -1.2 -0.3  

New vehicles(1)

177.997   174.320 -2.2 -2.1  

Used cars and trucks(1)

255.120   257.994 -0.6 1.1  

Motor fuel

231.383 221.524 195.937 -25.1 -15.3 -11.6

Gasoline (all types)

228.129 218.433 192.992 -25.2 -15.4 -11.6

Gasoline, unleaded regular(4)

224.925 215.045 189.323 -25.8 -15.8 -12.0

Gasoline, unleaded midgrade(4)(5)

235.886 228.400 207.208 -21.0 -12.2 -9.3

Gasoline, unleaded premium(4)

232.245 224.477 202.850 -21.5 -12.7 -9.6

Motor vehicle insurance(1)

741.786   617.242 -14.8 -16.8  

Medical care

554.549   552.219 2.3 -0.4  

Recreation(3)

126.383   125.139 1.7 -1.0  

Education and communication(3)

133.173   132.942 0.8 -0.2  

Tuition, other school fees, and child care(1)

1,055.951   1,055.951 1.7 0.0  

Other goods and services

556.761   553.826 -0.8 -0.5  

Commodity and service group

Commodities

181.622   178.932 -2.1 -1.5  

Commodities less food and beverages

148.797   142.877 -6.0 -4.0  

Nondurables less food and beverages

192.361   180.323 -8.6 -6.3  

Durables

101.990   100.943 -2.3 -1.0  

Services

338.427   334.435 0.9 -1.2  

Special aggregate indexes

All items less shelter

233.483   229.187 -1.3 -1.8  

All items less medical care

247.229   243.844 -0.3 -1.4  

Commodities less food

151.736   145.882 -5.8 -3.9  

Nondurables

218.137   214.557 -2.0 -1.6  

Nondurables less food

194.558   183.075 -8.1 -5.9  

Services less rent of shelter(2)

345.203   337.546 -0.6 -2.2  

Services less medical care services

322.199   318.142 0.6 -1.3  

Energy

191.830 186.286 175.098 -16.1 -8.7 -6.0

All items less energy

269.093   266.930 1.2 -0.8  

All items less food and energy

276.314   272.608 0.6 -1.3  

Footnotes
(1) Indexes on a December 1977=100 base
(2) Indexes on a December 1982=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.

 

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2020