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PHILADELPHIA AREA PRICES UNCHANGED IN DECEMBER -- LOWEST YEAR-END INCREASE IN 6 YEARS RECORDED

 PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Philadelphia area consumer prices were unchanged in December following two months of price declines, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today.
 Alan M. Paisner, the bureau's regional commissioner, noted that the stability was due to higher prices for several categories, notably transportation and food and beverages, being offset by lower prices for the remaining categories, especially apparel and upkeep. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 2.1 percent since last December and declined at an annual rate of 1.6 percent over the last three months. (See table A.)
 The over-the-year increase in the overall CPI-U was the lowest year- end rise since 1986 when the December index rose just 1.7 percent over the preceding year. Over four-fifths of the rise was due to higher prices for items in the broad services category while commodities' price increases explained the remainder of the increase.
 Transportation prices were up for the fourth consecutive month and were 2.7 percent above the level in December 1991. Most of the December increase was due to rising public transportation prices -- particularly air fares -- although private transportation prices were also up.
 Food and beverage prices were up 0.6 percent in December, the largest one-month increase since January. A 3.1 percent jump in produce prices was mainly responsible for a 1.0 percent increase in grocery prices.
 Prices were higher in the diverse other goods and services group and in medical care. These two groups are the only major groups to have more than doubled since the base period of 1982-84. Despite continued increases, the year-end 12-month increase for each was lower than their recent history -- for medical care, the 6.6 percent rise was the lowest December to December increase since 1987; for other goods and services the 5.8 percent increase was the lowest since 1989.
 Apparel prices typically decline in December, but the 4.4 percent drop was the largest one-month decline in December in the 40-year history of the category. Women's and girls' apparel prices dropped 9.4 percent since November.
 Housing prices edged down 0.1 percent over the month, and were just 1.2 percent higher over the year. The shelter category was the only one of the three main components of housing to decline in December.
 In December, the CPI-U stood at 147.5 on the 1982-84 equals 100 reference base, which means that a market basket of goods and services that cost $100.00 in 1982-84 would have cost $147.50 last month. The local Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers Index (CPI-W) decreased 0.1 percent last month and stood at 147.4 on the 1982-84 base.
 In the other four cities priced monthly by the bureau, prices were also unchanged in Los Angeles, rose 0.1 percent in San Francisco and 0.4 percent in Chicago, and declined 0.2 percent in New York.
 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 Oct. Nov. Dec. 3 months ended ended
 category 1992 1992 1992 Dec. 1992 Dec. 1992
 All items -0.1 -0.3 0.0 -1.6 2.1
 Food & beverages -0.1 -0.4 0.6 0.3 2.4
 Housing -0.5 -1.3 -0.1 -7.4 1.2
 Apparel & upkeep 0.0 1.7 -4.4 -10.8 -4.2
 Transportation 0.7 0.9 0.8 10.1 2.7
 Medical care 0.8 0.0 0.1 3.6 6.6
 Entertainment -0.8 0.2 -0.8 -5.3 4.4
 Other goods
 & services 0.6 -0.1 0.5 3.9 5.8
 Special index:
 Energy -6.5 1.1 -0.2 -20.6 0.6
 Commodities 0.2 0.5 -0.1 2.6 1.0
 Services -0.2 -0.9 0.1 -4.1 3.1
 /delval/
 -0- 1/15/93
 /CONTACT: Maureen Greene (information), 215-596-1157, or Alan Paisner (media), 215-596-1151, 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

MK -- PH006 -- 5231 01/15/93 09:03 EST
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Date:Jan 15, 1993
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