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LOS ANGELES AREA CONSUMER PRICES UP 0.4 PERCENT IN MARCH, FOOD AND BEVERAGES CITED

 LOS ANGELES AREA CONSUMER PRICES UP 0.4 PERCENT IN MARCH,
 FOOD AND BEVERAGES CITED
 LOS ANGELES, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Prices paid for goods and services purchased by consumers in the greater Los Angeles area (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties) rose 0.4 percent in March, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sam Hirabayashi, the Bureau's regional commissioner, said that about half of the increase was due to higher priced food and beverages. The All Items, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers now stands at 145.5 (1982-84-100), 4.2 percent above the March 1991 level. The over-the-year increase was the highest reported since July of last year when prices rose 4.4 percent from their July 1990 levels. Since the first of the year, local area prices have risen 1.7 percent, compared to a 0.4 percent increase for the first three months of 1991. Consumer Price Index data for local areas are not seasonally adjusted.
 The food and beverages index rose 1.1 percent from February levels and was 4.0 percent higher than a year ago. Paced by higher prices for fruits and vegetables--up 4.3 percent--grocery prices rose 1.6 percent during the month. Tomatoes and fresh fruit (except oranges and tangerines) were among the items noted higher in cost. Higher prices for beer and ale led to a 2.0 percent jump in the alcoholic beverages index, while the cost of eating out increased 0.2 percent.
 Apparel and upkeep costs, which are susceptible to seasonal fluctuations, increased 1.3 percent over the month to a level 6.0 percent above March 1991. Higher price tags were noted for both men's and boys' (up 2.4 percent) and women's and girls' clothing (up 1.5 percent). Footwear prices edged up 0.1 percent during the month.
 Transportation costs were 0.4 percent higher than the prior month and 4.8 percent higher than in March 1991. A 3.7 percent over-the- month advance in public transportation costs was largely responsible for the rise, with airline fares the principal mover. Despite this increase, public transportation was 1.2 percent below a year ago.
 The housing index edged up 0.1 percent during March and was 2.8 percent above a year ago. Lower shelter costs, down 0.2 percent, were more than offset by higher priced fuels and utilities, up 0.7 percent, and household furnishings and operation costs, up 1.0 percent.
 Medical care costs rose 0.5 percent in March and were 8.0 percent above last year. Entertainment costs were up 0.2 percent from February levels and 2.3 percent for the year. A 0.7 percent over- the-month drop in personal care costs led to a 0.2 percent drop in the miscellaneous other goods and services index. This subindex, however, was 8.6 percent above the March 1991 level.
 Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers:
 Indexes and percent changes for selected periods
 (Data are not seasonally adjusted)
 Los Angeles-Anaheim-Riverside, Calif.
 (1982-84-100, unless otherwise noted)
 Percent changes
 Indexes to Mar. 1992
 from:
 Feb. Mar. Mar. Feb.
 1992 1992 1991 1992
 Expenditure category
 All items .......................... 144.9 145.5 4.2 0.4
 Food and beverages ............... 139.5 141.1 4.0 1.1
 Food ........................... 137.7 139.2 3.8 1.1
 Food at home ................. 139.3 141.5 3.7 1.6
 Food away from home .......... 136.0 136.3 4.1 .2
 Alcoholic beverages ............ 156.3 159.5 5.1 2.0
 Housing .......................... 147.7 147.9 2.8 .1
 Shelter ........................ 158.5 158.2 2.7 -.2
 Fuel and other utilities ....... 134.3 135.2 4.4 .7
 Household furnishings and
 operation ..................... 118.4 119.6 1.7 1.0
 Apparel and upkeep ............... 135.2 136.9 6.0 1.3
 Transportation .................. 129.6 130.1 4.8 0.4
 Private transportation ......... 127.0 126.9 5.7 -.1
 Motor fuel ................... 97.5 97.6 17.7 .1
 Public transportation .......... 169.2 175.4 -1.2 3.7
 Medical care ..................... 187.8 188.7 8.0 .5
 Entertainment .................... 133.8 134.1 2.3 .2
 Other goods and services ......... 190.6 190.3 8.6 -.2
 Personal care .................. 151.7 150.7 4.1 -.7
 Special indexes
 Energy ............................. 110.2 110.2 8.6 .0
 All items less energy .............. 148.8 149.4 3.8 .4
 -0- 4/10/92
 /CONTACT: Faith Heinemann, 213-252-7518; or Jim Wurth, 213-252-7517, both of the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics/ CO: U.S. Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics ST: California IN: FIN SU: ECO


JL -- SF004 -- 7145 04/10/92 10:32 EDT
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Date:Apr 10, 1992
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