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LABOR DEPARTMENT: GROCERY PRICES FALL SHARPLY IN MARCH; ENERGY INDEX UP SLIGHTLY IN PITTSBURGH-BEAVER VALLEY AREA

 LABOR DEPARTMENT: GROCERY PRICES FALL SHARPLY IN MARCH;
 ENERGY INDEX UP SLIGHTLY IN PITTSBURGH-BEAVER VALLEY AREA
 PITTSBURGH, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Grocery prices in the Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley area, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), fell 1.5 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
 Alan M. Paisner, the bureau's regional commissioner, noted that less expensive cereals and bakery products accounted for most of the decline in retail food prices. Since March 1991, the food at home index for Allegheny, Beaver, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties rose 1.0 percent.
 Prices for cereals and bakery products fell 6.9 percent in March, the largest one-month decrease since the series began in 1953. Dairy prices fell 2.0 percent since February, yet rose 7.0 percent over the year. The decline in local grocery prices was moderated by a 1.6 percent over-the-month increase in the fruits and vegetables index. Prices at the butcher counter rose moderately in March, after three months of decline, and were unchanged over the last 12 months.
 The Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley food at home index stood at 127.1 on the 1982-84 base, which means that grocery shoppers in the Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley area would have had to spend $12.71 last month for a market basket of food items that cost $10.00 in 1982-84.
 The energy index edged up 0.1 percent over the month, reflecting a slight rise in motor fuel prices. Motor fuel prices were up for the first time since November, although prices normally decrease in March. Home heating oil prices, exhibiting the normal seasonal decline, fell 0.6 percent over the month and were 5.7 percent lower than a year ago. Energy prices were 1.7 percent higher than 12 months ago, following five consecutive months where energy prices were at or below year-ago levels.
 Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers:
 Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley Area
 March 1992 (not seasonally adjusted)
 (1982-84 equals 100)
 Index Percent change
 GROUP March to March 1992
 1992 from
 Feb. March
 1992 1991
 Food at home 127.1 -1.5 1.0
 Cereals and bakery products 132.8 -6.9 -0.4
 Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs 121.7 0.2 0.0
 Meats, poultry and fish 124.0 0.8 1.4
 Dairy products 120.0 -2.0 7.0
 Fruits and vegetables 144.0 1.6 1.5
 Other foods at home 122.8 -2.1 0.1
 Energy 110.7 0.1 1.7
 Fuels 128.0 0.0 4.8
 Fuel oil 82.6 -0.6 -5.7
 Gas (piped) and electricity 129.7 0.0 4.9
 Electricity 146.5 0.0 11.0
 Utility (piped) gas 116.1 0.0 -0.8
 Motor fuel 89.3 0.1 -2.5
 Gasoline 89.2 0.1 -2.5
 Gasoline, unleaded regular 86.0 0.1 -3.4
 Gasoline, unleaded premium 92.0 0.2 -1.0
 -0- 4/10/92
 /CONTACT: Kevin Babyak, information, 215-596-1154, or Maureen Greene, media, 215-596-1157, both of U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Philadelphia/ CO: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU: ECO


DM -- PG005 -- 7096 04/10/92 09:31 EDT
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Date:Apr 10, 1992
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