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WESTERN REGION CONSUMER PRICES ADVANCED 0.5 PERCENT IN FEBRUARY 1992, UP 3.4 PERCENT FOR THE YEAR

 WESTERN REGION CONSUMER PRICES ADVANCED 0.5 PERCENT
 IN FEBRUARY 1992, UP 3.4 PERCENT FOR THE YEAR
 SAN FRANCISCO, March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Prices paid by consumers in the thirteen westernmost states rose 0.5 percent in February, according to Sam Hirabayashi, regional commissioner of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Increased housing costs, seasonally higher apparel prices, and higher medical care charges accounted for about 80 percent of the month's advance. The All Items Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the West reached 140.5 (1982-84-100), up 3.4 percent for the year. This latest 12-month advance marked an acceleration in the rate of annual increases as compared with the slowdowns reported for the past several months. Consumer Price Index data for the region are not seasonally adjusted.
 Higher costs for shelter and household furnishings pushed the overall housing index up 0.5 percent in February, up 3.5 percent for the year. Within the shelter component, increases were noted for both homeowners (up 0.3 percent) and renters (up 1.0 percent) with most of the rise in renters' costs attributable to higher out-of- town lodging prices which are included in the other renters' costs index (up 3.7 percent). The cost of household furnishings and operation jumped 1.0 percent during the month due, almost entirely, to a 1.5 percent hike in house furnishings. The fuel and other utilities index edged up 0.1 percent as declines in fuels and natural gas prices were countered by a 0.7 percent increase in electricity costs. Fuels and residential gas also posted declines over the year while electricity moved up 1.6 percent since last February.
 The apparel index rose 2.1 during the month as the new spring fashions were introduced by retailers. Higher prices were noted for all types of clothing and accessories except infants' and toddlers' apparel which fell 1.8 percent. Women's and girls' apparel advanced 1.8 percent, while men's and boys' clothing increased 1.6 percent, and other apparel commodities jumped 6.4 percent. Footwear edged up 0.2 percent, and apparel services gained 0.6 percent pushing the overall apparel and upkeep index up 1.9 percent for the month. Over the year, apparel commodities rose 3.2 percent and apparel services gained 4.0 percent.
 A 1.1 percent jump in prices paid for fruits and vegetables along with a 0.1 percent increase in the cost of eating out pushed the food index up 0.3 percent in February. Over the year, food costs have risen 1.5 percent with the food away from home component contributing about two thirds of the increase. For the month, all grocery items posted higher prices except cereals and bakery products which fell 0.3 percent and other prepared food, down 0.1 percent. Alcoholic beverages rose 0.1 percent during the month and ended up 4.3 percent for the year.
 The overall transportation group edged up 0.1 percent as a 0.2 percent increase in private transportation overcame a 0.9 percent drop in public transportation. Lower air fares were primarily responsible for the falloff in the public transportation index. Over the year, the public transportation index posted a 6.0 percent decline while private transportation costs moved up 1.6 percent. Gasoline prices rose 0.6 percent reversing the downward trend of the last several months. However, prices at the pumps were still below year-ago levels, down 3.9 percent. Prices paid for new vehicles advanced 0.8 percent while used car prices fell 1.5 percent in February. For the year, new vehicle prices increased 2.7 percent, and used car prices were up a slight 0.7 percent.
 Medical care costs jumped 1.0 percent during the month to a level 8.1 percent above February 1991. Higher medical care services, up 0.9 percent, were largely responsible for this latest increase. Entertainment costs gained 0.4 percent on the strength of a 0.5 percent rise in entertainment services. The other goods and services expenditure category was pushed up 0.5 percent by a 0.5 percent increase in the personal and educational expenses group coupled with a 0.7 percent gain in the cost of tobacco and smoking products. Over the year, the miscellaneous other category has risen 8.5 percent with tobacco increasing 9.3 percent and personal and educational services advancing 9.9 percent.
 Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers:
 Indexes and percent changes for selected periods
 (Data are not seasonally adjusted)
 West (1982-84-100, unless otherwise noted)
 Percent changes
 Indexes to Feb. 1992
 from:
 Jan. Feb. Feb. Jan.
 1992 1992 1991 1992
 Expenditure category
 All items .......................... 139.8 140.5 3.4 0.5
 Food and beverages ............... 138.7 139.1 1.8 .3
 Food ........................... 137.6 138.0 1.5 .3
 Food at home ................. 138.1 138.5 .8 .3
 Food away from home .......... 137.4 137.6 2.7 .1
 Alcoholic beverages ............ 149.4 149.5 4.3 .1
 Housing .......................... 139.5 140.2 3.5 .5
 Shelter ........................ 150.8 151.6 4.0 .5
 Fuel and other utilities ....... 123.4 123.5 3.7 .1
 Household furnishings and
 operation .................... 115.2 116.3 1.3 1.0
 Apparel and upkeep ............... 123.7 126.1 3.2 1.9
 Transportation ................... 125.9 126.0 .7 .1
 Private transportation ......... 123.3 123.5 1.6 .2
 Motor fuel ................... 93.2 93.6 -4.2 .4
 Public transportation .......... 157.5 156.1 -6.0 -.9
 Medical care ..................... 185.6 187.5 8.1 1.0
 Entertainment ................... 142.3 142.8 3.3 .4
 Other goods and services ........ 179.9 180.8 8.5 .5
 Personal care .................. 143.4 144.2 3.4 .6
 Special indexes
 Energy ............................. 103.7 103.8 -2.3 .1
 All items less energy .............. 144.1 144.8 3.7 .5
 -0- 3/17/92
 /CONTACT: Sam Hirabayashi, 415-744-7166; or Joyce Sakai, 415-744-7132, 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 -- SF001 -- 8706 03/17/92 10:22 EST
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Date:Mar 17, 1992
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