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OVERALL PHILADELPHIA AREA PRICES EDGED DOWN ALTHOUGH MANY ITEMS INCREASED IN PRICE

 OVERALL PHILADELPHIA AREA PRICES EDGED DOWN
 ALTHOUGH MANY ITEMS INCREASED IN PRICE
 PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Philadelphia area consumer prices declined 0.1 percent in July following a sharp 1.2 percent upturn in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today.
 Alan M. Paisner, the bureau's regional commissioner, noted that the decline was not broad-based -- only housing and apparel prices were down over the month, the remaining five major portions of the index were up since June. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 3.4 percent since last July but rose at an annual rate of 5.3 percent over the last three months, reflecting strong price escalation during the last three months. (Table A.)
 Declines throughout many of the housing components pulled down the index for housing as well as the all-items index. Household furnishings and operation, down for the sixth month out of the last 12, dropped 2.6 percent since June bringing it to 4 percent less than a year ago. Declining prices for furniture and bedding, television and sound equipment, and other housefurnishings combined with lower prices for housekeeping supplies like laundry and cleaning products.
 Fuel oil prices were lower, as they normally are in July, but most of the 0.8 percent decline in fuels and other utilities came in lower rates for community antenna and cable television as well as interstate telephone calls. The third component of housing, shelter, was down 0.2 percent over the month despite higher costs for lodging while out of town. Since last July, the housing index was up just 2.2 percent -- along with this May, the smallest 12-month increase since the beginning of 1987.
 Apparel prices were also down, as they normally are each summer, dropping 2.1 percent since June after a 4.6 percent decline the month before. Despite the seasonal declines, overall apparel prices were still 11.6 percent higher than a year ago.
 Medical care prices continued to soar, jumping 1.5 percent since June -- the sixth monthly increase in a row and the third of those six to be over 1 percent. On an annual basis, medical care prices rose nearly 14 percent over just the last three months.
 Transportation prices were also up -- more than two-thirds of the 0.4 percent increase was due to the continuing escalation of motor fuel prices, up 1.8 percent since June and more than 10 percent since April. Food and beverage prices were up 0.3 percent as higher prices for groceries were moderated by lower prices for food away from home.
 The drop in the overall price level since June was due wholly to falling commodities prices -- prices for services were unchanged over the month. Commodities prices were at the same level as in April but services prices increased 2.3 percent over those three months -- an annual rate of 9.4 percent.
 In the other four cities priced monthly by the bureau, prices were up 0.3 percent in Los Angeles and New York, 0.2 percent in San Francisco, and 0.1 percent in Chicago.
 The CPI-U stood at 147.3 on the 1982-84 equals 100 reference base, which means that a market basket of goods and services that cost $100 in 1982-84 would have cost $147.30 in July of this year. The local Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers Index (CPI-W) also decreased 0.1 percent last month and stood at 147.3 on the 1982-84 base.
 Table A: Percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in Philadelphia (not seasonally adjusted)
 Change from preceding Compound Change for
 month to annual rate 12 months
 Expenditure May June July 3 months ended ended
 category 1992 1992 1992 July 1992 July 1992
 All items 0.2 1.2 -0.1 5.3 3.4
 Food & beverages 0.2 -0.2 0.3 1.2 1.8
 Housing 0.1 3.0 -0.5 10.4 2.2
 Apparel & upkeep 0.5 -4.6 -2.1 -22.5 11.6
 Transportation 0.1 0.7 0.4 5.4 3.3
 Medical care 1.3 0.4 1.5 13.9 8.0
 Entertainment 0.2 0.8 0.1 4.2 5.4
 Other goods and services 0.6 0.5 0.2 5.3 6.4
 Special index:
 Energy 1.1 9.4 0.5 52.5 1.5
 Commodities 0.6 -0.2 -0.3 0.0 2.9
 Services -0.1 2.3 0.0 9.4 3.9
 /delval/
 -0- 8/13/92 r
 /CONTACT: Michelle Weihmann (information), 215-596-1154, or Maureen Greene (media), 215-596-1157, both of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics/ CO: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics ST: Pennsylvania IN: HOU SU: ECO


MP -- PH003 -- 9543 08/13/92 10:48 EDT
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Date:Aug 13, 1992
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