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PHILADELPHIA AREA RETAIL PRICE RISE LARGEST IN NEARLY A YEAR AND A HALF

PHILADELPHIA AREA RETAIL PRICE RISE LARGEST IN NEARLY A YEAR AND A HALF
 PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Philadelphia area consumer prices rose 0.8 percent in December, the largest over-the-month increase in almost a year and a half, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today.
 Alan M. Paisner, the bureau's regional commissioner, noted that sharply higher shelter costs accounted for almost 84 percent of the overall increase. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 3.6 percent since last December and at an annual rate of 1.7 percent over the last 3 months. (See table A.) This year's 12- month increase marked the lowest year-end increase in local prices in 2 years; the December-to-December change was 3.4 percent in 1989 and 7.3 percent in 1990.
 The housing index jumped 1.5 percent over the month, the first rise since August. (The housing index does NOT include the purchase price of homes.) Virtually all of the increase was found in the shelter component, mainly due to higher costs for homeowners (up 2.2 percent) although renters' costs also increased. Over the last 12 months, the housing index was up 4.2 percent and accounted for just under half of the change in the overall CPI during that period.
 Rising prices for private transportation were reflected in a 0.3 percent over-the-month increase in the transportation index. The medical care index continued to put upward pressure on overall prices, rising 0.6 percent over the month and 8.6 percent over the year. The other goods and services index also made a strong contribution to the over-the-year increase in consumer prices.
 The apparel index rose slightly in December following an unseasonably strong increase in November. Higher prices for boys' apparel offset declines in both women's and girls' apparel and footwear.
 Food and beverage prices were unchanged over the month as a strong increase in produce prices was offset by declines in other grocery items. Fresh vegetables helped push the produce index up 2.6 percent. Although the grocery index was a scant 0.2 percent higher over the year, the overall food and beverages index was 1.1 percent higher due to increased prices for alcoholic beverages and food away from home.
 In the other four cities priced monthly by the bureau, prices were up 0.2 percent in Chicago, were unchanged in New York and San Francisco, and were down 0.3 percent in Los Angeles.
 The CPI-U stood at 144.4 on the 1982-84-100 reference base, which means that a market basket of goods and services that cost $100 in 1982-84 would have cost $144.40 in December 1991. The local Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers Index (CPI-W) increased 0.7 percent last month and stood at 144.4 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 Oct. Nov. Dec. 3 months ended ended
 category 1991 1991 1991 Dec. 1991 Dec. 1991
 All items -0.5 0.1 0.8 1.7 3.6
 Food & beverages 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.3 1.1
 Housing -1.5 -0.5 1.5 -1.9 4.2
 Apparel & upkeep -3.3 4.1 0.2 3.8 8.0
 Transportation 1.1 1.0 0.3 10.0 0.8
 Medical care 0.9 0.1 0.6 6.4 8.6
 Entertainment 0.4 -0.6 -1.1 -5.0 3.3
 Other goods & services 0.5 0.3 0.4 4.8 6.4
 Special index:
 Energy -6.9 0.6 -0.4 -24.5 -7.0
 /delval/
 -0- 1/16/92
 /CONTACT: Maureen Greene (information), 215-596-1157, or Alan Paisner (media), 215-596-1151, 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 -- PH005 -- 0356 01/16/92 09:07 EST
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Date:Jan 16, 1992
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