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CONSUMER PRICES EDGED UP 0.1 PERCENT IN APRIL, UP 3.7 PERCENT FOR THE YEAR

 CONSUMER PRICES EDGED UP 0.1 PERCENT IN APRIL,
 UP 3.7 PERCENT FOR THE YEAR
 SAN FRANCISCO, May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumer prices in the thirteen westernmost states inched upward 0.1 percent in April, according to Sam Hirabayashi, regional commissioner of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lower prices for groceries, shelter, and clothing were offset by increases in the remaining four major expenditure groups which include transportation, medical care, entertainment and the miscellaneous other category. The All Items Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the West reached 141.3 (1982-84-100), up 3.7 percent for the year. This latest 12-month change was a slight deceleration from the over-the-year gain of 3.9 percent noted last month. Consumer Price Index data for the region are not seasonally adjusted.
 Grocery prices receded 0.5 percent in April as several items in the food at home index posted declines. The other prepared food category fell 1.1 percent over the month, while fruits and vegetables dropped 1.4 percent and meats, poultry, fish, and eggs dropped 0.8 percent. These latter two indexes also fell below last year's levels by 2.9 percent and 2.2 percent respectively, while total grocery prices rose a modest 0.2 percent over the year. The cost of food consumed away from home advanced 0.2 percent from the prior month, while alcoholic beverages prices increased 0.8 percent.
 The housing index edged down 0.1 percent in the month, largely on the strength of a 4.1 percent drop in the other renters' costs. Total renters' costs fell 1.1 percent, and homeowners' costs dipped 0.1 percent leaving the shelter index down 0.4 percent for the month. Fuel and other utilities rose 0.9 percent in April as a result of a 7.2 percent jump in residential gas prices. Natural gas prices, however, were down 1.6 percent from last year's level. Household furnishings and operation posted a 0.5 percent over-the-month gain, as a 1.4 percent increase in housefurnishings prices was moderated by a 1.8 percent drop in the cost of housekeeping supplies.
 Apparel prices moved down 0.2 percent over the month to a level 2.4 percent above April 1991. Lower priced women's and girls' clothing, down 1.1 percent, and other apparel commodities, down 2.7 percent, were only partially offset by higher price tags on men's and boys' apparel, infants' and toddlers' apparel, and footwear. Apparel services declined 0.1 percent resulting in a 0.2 percent drop in the overall apparel and upkeep index for April.
 The private transportation index advanced 0.6 percent in April as gasoline prices rose for the fourth consecutive month. Gasoline prices increased 2.3 percent over the month and 8.3 percent over the year but are 3.4 percent below the CPI base period of 1982-84-100. Public transportation fares fell 0.3 percent during the month, countering some of the increase in private transportation and resulting in a 0.4 percent gain in the overall transportation index.
 Medical care costs rose 0.5 percent during the month and were 8.2 percent above the year-ago level. Entertainment costs increased 0.5 percent and posted a 2.6 percent gain for the year. The miscellaneous other goods and services category jumped 1.0 percent in April pushing the index up 8.6 percent for the year. Almost half of this latest increase was attributable to higher personal and educational expenses, up 0.9 percent. Tobacco and smoking products prices, up 1.9 percent, accounted for another one third of the monthly gain. Over the year, tobacco and smoking products advanced 9.7 percent and personal and educational expenses rose 9.6 percent -- the largest 12-month increases among all expenditures categories. Medical care commodities came in a distant second with a 8.6 percent gain.
 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 Apr. 1992
 from:
 Mar. Apr. Apr. Mar.
 1992 1992 1991 1992
 Expenditure category
 All items .......................... 141.1 141.3 3.7 0.1
 Food and beverages ............... 140.1 139.9 1.5 -.1
 Food ........................... 139.0 138.7 1.1 -.2
 Food at home ................. 140.0 139.3 .2 -.5
 Food away from home .......... 137.9 138.2 2.4 .2
 Alcoholic beverages ............ 150.5 151.7 5.0 .8
 Housing .......................... 140.6 140.5 3.5 -.1
 Shelter ........................ 152.1 151.5 3.7 -.4
 Fuel and other utilities ....... 123.0 124.1 4.3 .9
 Household furnishings and
 operation ..................... 117.1 117.7 1.8 .5
 Apparel and upkeep ............... 128.4 128.2 2.4 -0.2
 Transportation ................... 126.6 127.1 4.1 .4
 Private transportation ......... 123.9 124.6 4.4 .6
 Motor fuel ................... 94.6 96.8 8.0 2.3
 Public transportation .......... 159.2 158.7 1.9 -.3
 Medical care ..................... 188.4 189.4 8.2 .5
 Entertainment .................... 142.9 143.6 2.6 .5
 Other goods and services ......... 181.0 182.9 8.6 1.0
 Personal care .................. 144.5 145.7 4.1 .8
 Special indexes
 Energy ............................. 103.6 105.5 4.5 1.8
 All items less energy .............. 145.5 145.5 3.7 .0
 -0- 5/13/92
 /CONTACT: Joyce Sakai, 415-744-7132; or Leon Bornstein, 415-744-7163, both of Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics/ CO: Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics ST: California IN: FIN SU: ECO


JL -- SF006 -- 9634 05/13/92 11:31 EDT
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Date:May 13, 1992
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