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CONSUMER PRICES IN THE WESTERN REGION ROSE 0.4 PERCENT IN MARCH, UP 3.9 PERCENT FOR THE YEAR

 CONSUMER PRICES IN THE WESTERN REGION ROSE 0.4 PERCENT IN MARCH,
 UP 3.9 PERCENT FOR THE YEAR
 SAN FRANCISCO, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Prices paid by consumers in the thirteen westernmost states rose 0.4 percent in March, according to Sam Hirabayashi, regional commissioner of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Higher grocery, shelter, and clothing prices accounted for almost two thirds of the gain with all other expenditure categories also contributing, but much more modestly. The All Items Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the West reached 141.1 (1982-84-100), up 3.9 percent for the year. This latest 12-month change was the second consecutive increase in over-the-year gains since the first of the year when the annual rate reached a 5-year low of 2.8 percent (January 1991 to January 1992). Consumer Price Index data for the region are not seasonally adjusted.
 Led by a 4.2 percent jump in the cost of fruits and vegetables, grocery prices advanced 1.1 percent in March. Over the year, fruits and vegetables prices posted a 2.8 percent gain while the total grocery bill increased 1.8 percent. Prices paid for alcoholic beverages were up 0.7 percent for the month and up 4.2 percent for the year. The cost of eating out increased 0.2 percent in March, posting a 2.6 gain for the year. The overall food and beverages category advanced 0.7 percent in March and was 2.3 percent above March 1991.
 The housing index moved up 0.3 percent during the month, largely on the strength of a 0.4 percent rise in owners' equivalent rent. These higher costs for homeowners along with increased renters' costs (up 0.4 percent) and higher maintenance and repair prices (up 0.2 percent) pushed the shelter index up 0.3 percent for the month and 4.2 percent for the year. The cost of household fuel and other utilities fell 0.4 percent in March with every item in this category (except electricity and the other category) posting price declines for the month and for the year. Electricity prices were unchanged in March and were up a modest 1.8 percent for the year. The other utilities and public services index, which includes cable television, increased 0.7 percent during the month and rose 7.7 percent over the year.
 Apparel prices rose 2.0 percent over the month to a level 4.3 percent above March 1991. Higher priced women's and girls' clothing, up 2.9 percent were primarily responsible for this latest advance. Other apparel items also contributed to the increase--men's and boys' apparel edged up 0.2 percent, infants' and toddlers' apparel jumped 4.7 percent, and footwear gained 3.1 percent. Apparel services which fell 0.1 percent in March, was up 2.9 percent from a year ago.
 The private transportation index advanced 0.3 percent in March, fueled by a 1.2 percent hike in gasoline prices. Gasoline prices have gained 6.2 percent over the year, however, they are still below the CPI base period of 1982-84-100. Higher private transportation costs along with a 2.0 percent increase in public transportation fares pushed the overall transportation index up 0.5 percent for the month. For the year, however, public transportation costs were down 2.2 percent while private transportation rose 3.7 percent resulting in a 3.0 percent annual gain for the overall category.
 Medical care costs rose 0.5 percent during the month and were 7.9 percent above the year-ago level. Entertainment costs edged up 0.1 percent and posted a 3.0 percent gain for the year. The miscellaneous other goods and services index inched up 0.1 percent in March as a 0.6 percent drop in tobacco and smoking products almost offset increases in personal care items and personal and educational expenses. Over the year, the personal and educational expenses category has risen 9.1 percent and was the principal factor in the 8.1 percent hike in the other goods and services index.
 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 Mar. 1992
 from:
 Feb. Mar. Mar. Feb.
 1992 1992 1991 1992
 Expenditure category
 All items .......................... 140.5 141.1 3.9 0.4
 Food and beverages ............... 139.1 140.1 2.3 .7
 Food ........................... 138.0 139.0 2.1 .7
 Food at home ................. 138.5 140.0 1.8 1.1
 Food away from home .......... 137.6 137.9 2.6 .2
 Alcoholic beverages ............ 149.5 150.5 4.2 .7
 Housing .......................... 140.2 140.6 3.8 .3
 Shelter ........................ 151.6 152.1 4.2 .3
 Fuel and other utilities ....... 123.5 123.0 3.1 -.4
 Household furnishings and
 operation ..................... 116.3 117.1 2.2 .7
 Apparel and upkeep ............... 126.1 128.4 4.1 1.8
 Transportation ................... 126.0 126.6 3.0 .5
 Private transportation ......... 123.5 123.9 3.7 .3
 Motor fuel ................... 93.6 94.6 5.7 1.1
 Public transportation .......... 156.1 159.2 -2.2 2.0
 Medical care ..................... 187.5 188.4 7.9 .5
 Entertainment .................... 142.8 142.9 3.0 .1
 Other goods and services ......... 180.8 181.0 8.1 .1
 Personal care .................. 144.2 144.5 4.1 .2
 Special indexes
 Energy ............................. 103.8 103.6 2.2 -.2
 All items less energy .............. 144.8 145.5 4.0 .5
 -0- 4/10/92
 /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 -- SF005 -- 7154 04/10/92 10:45 EDT
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Date:Apr 10, 1992
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