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NEWS - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
       BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
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BLS Fax-on-Demand - Chicago (312) 353-1880                   Document No.
9201
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General Information: (312) 353-1880          TRANSMISSION OF MATERIAL IN
Media Contact: Ronald M. Guzicki             THIS RELEASE IS EMBARGOED
UNTIL:
Internet address:                            7:30 A.M. CDT
   http://stats.bls.gov/ro5news.htm          Tuesday, June 16, 1998

                             Consumer Price Index
                       Chicago-Gary-Kenosha, IL-IN-WI CMSA
                                 May 1998

     Consumer prices in the Chicago area rose 0.5 percent in May,   the
U.S.
Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.    The
Chicago
area Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for May   was
165.6
(1982-84=100). Retail prices increased 2.8 percent over the past    year.
This
was in line with the annual gain in the prior 12 month period.

     Peter J. Hebein, Regional Commissioner of the Bureau in Chicago,
said
sharply rising energy costs, up 4.3 percent, were a significant factor in
the
overall increase in May. Automotive gasoline, utility natural gas
service, and
electricity all recorded sharp over-the-month gains. Had energy costs
remained
unchanged from April, the CPI-U would have risen only 0.2 percent in May.
Also
contributing in May were increases in the cost of shelter, grocery food,
and
cigarettes. A sharp decline in the household furnishings and operations
index
had a significant dampening effect on the overall gain.


Table A. Percent changes in the CPI-U, Chicago-Gary-Kenosha, IL-IN-WI
(not seasonally adjusted)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   |         Changes from preceding month       |
                   |-------------|------------------------------|
    Expenditure    |    1997     |             1998             | 12 mo.
     Category      |-------------|------------------------------| ended
                    | May | Dec. | Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May | May `98
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
-
All items           | 0.1 | -0.1 | 0.0    0.2   0.6   0.4   0.5 |   2.8
   Food & beverages |   .4 |   .8 |  0    -.1    .6    .1    .5 |   3.4
   Housing          |   .3 | -.6 |   0     .1    .6    .6   -.1 |   3.9
   Apparel          | -3.0 | -1.5 | -.2   1.3   2.5   1.1   2.5 |   -.6
   Transportation   |   .4 |   0 | -.6    -.1   -.2   -.1    .9 | -1.8
   Medical care     |   .3 |   .1 |  .7    .3    .8   1.3    .2 |   4.0
   Recreation       |   - |    - |   .2    .5    0     0   -1.0 |    -
   Education &      |      |      |                             |
     communication |    - |    - | 1.1     .2   2.4   1.0   1.1 |    -
   Other goods &    |      |      |                             |
     services       |   .6 |   .8 |  .2    .8   -.4   1.1   1.1 |   6.2
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
-
  - Data not available


     The transportation component advanced 0.9 percent in May. Most of
this gain
was attributed to a 5.8 percent hike in gasoline prices. Despite the
latest
increase, gasoline prices remain at their lowest May level in 10 years
and 7.8
percent below their level of a year ago. Also contributing to the latest
monthly rise were higher costs for auto insurance and motor vehicle parts
and
equipment such as tires. Over the past 12 months, the transportation
component
was down 1.8 percent due to lower gasoline prices.

     The housing component slipped 0.1 percent from April. A large hike
in the
cost of household fuels and a moderate gain in the shelter index were
offset by
a sharp setback in the household furnishings and operations index, which
dropped
6.2 percent. Lower price tags were reported on a variety of furniture and
bedding. The cost of utility natural gas service jumped 6.2 percent and
was up
24.3 percent over the past 12 months. This large increase follows a 23.0
percent decline over the previous 12 month period. Electricity costs
increased
1.4 percent in May but were down 3.3 percent from a year ago. Housing
costs
were up 3.9 percent from a year earlier.

     The volatile apparel component advanced 2.5 percent in May, posting
its
fourth consecutive monthly gain of over 1.0 percent. Higher footwear
prices were
a factor in the latest increase. Compared to a year ago, the apparel
component
was 0.6 percent lower.   This marks the sixth annual May-May decline in
the past
eight years.

     Food and beverage costs rose 0.5 percent in May. Most of this rise
was due
to a 0.9 percent hike in grocery food prices. Over the year, grocery food
costs
rose 4.4 percent; about the same as in the previous year. The cost of
food away
from home edged-up 0.1 percent in May and was up 2.3 percent over the
year.
This was in line with annual increases in the previous two years.

     Both the education and communications component and the other goods
and
services component advanced 1.1 percent in May. Higher local and long
distance
telephone service charges were responsible for the increase in the former
component while rising cigarette prices led to the gain in the latter.

     Recreation costs fell 1.0 percent in May following two months of no
change.
In the latest month, lower price tags were found on television sets and
on
selected toys.

     The medical care component increased 0.2 percent in May following
much
larger gains in the previous two months. Over the year, medical care
costs rose
4.0 percent. This was up from annual gains averaging 2.7 percent in the
prior
two years.
                                      # # #


Scheduled release date for the June CPI
Tuesday, July 14, 1998


Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): Indexes and percent
changes
for selected periods, Chicago-Gary-Kenosha, IL-IN-WI
(1982-84=100 unless otherwise noted)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------
                                       |   Indexes   |   Percent change
from-
               Item and Group          |-------------|-------------------
--------
                                       | Mar. | Apr. | May | May | Mar.
| Apr.
                                       | 1998 | 1998 | 1998 | 1997 | 1998
| 1998
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------
            Expenditure category

All items .............................    164.1   164.8   165.6    2.8   0.9
0.5
All items (1967=100) ..................    490.1   492.5   494.7      -     -
-

 Food and beverages ...................    163.9   164.1   165.0    3.4    .7
.5
   Food ................................   163.4   163.5   164.5    3.7    .7
.6
    Food at home .......................   171.5   171.7   173.3    4.4   1.0
.9
    Food away from home ................   149.3   149.3   149.4    2.3    .1
.1
   Alcoholic beverages .................   170.0   170.9   171.7    1.0   1.0
.5

 Housing ..............................    163.5   164.4   164.3    3.9    .5
-.1
   Shelter .............................   193.3   193.8   194.5    4.7    .6
.4
    Rent of primary residence ..........   188.1   188.3   188.9    4.1    .4
.3
    Owners' equivalent rent of primary
        residence (1) ..................   199.2   199.2   199.8    4.7    .3
.3
   Fuels and utilities .................   122.6   121.5   125.1    3.8   2.0
3.0
    Fuels ..............................   110.7   109.5   113.3    8.4   2.3
3.5
     Gas (piped) and electricity .......   113.7   112.5   116.4    8.6   2.4
3.5
      Electricity ......................   124.4   122.4   124.1   -3.3   -.2
1.4
      Utility natural gas service ......   102.3   102.1   108.4   24.3   6.0
6.2
   Household furnishings and operations    114.5   119.7   112.3   -1.7   -1.9
-6.2

 Apparel ..............................    122.2   123.6   126.7    -.6   3.7
2.5

 Transportation .......................    137.4   137.3   138.6   -1.8    .9
.9
   Private transportation ..............   134.3   134.3   135.8   -1.8   1.1
1.1
    Motor fuel .........................    91.2   93.2     98.6   -7.7   8.1
5.8
      Gasoline (all types) ..............    90.4   92.4     97.8   -7.8   8.2
5.8
      Gasoline, unleaded regular (2)....     87.8    89.8    95.3   -8.7   8.5
6.1
      Gasoline, unleaded midgrade (2)(3)     97.6   99.8    105.4   -6.5   8.0
5.6
      Gasoline, unleaded premium (2)....     93.0   94.7     99.8   -6.7   7.3
5.4

 Medical care .........................     241.3   244.4   244.8   4.0    1.5
.2

 Recreation (4)........................     100.7   100.7    99.7      -   -1.0
-1.0

 Education and communication (4).......     103.7   104.7   105.8      -   2.0
1.1

 Other goods and services .............     241.5   244.1   246.7   6.2    2.2
1.1

          Commodity and service group

All items .............................     164.1   164.8   165.6   2.8    0.9
0.5
 Commodities ..........................     142.6   143.8   144.3    .6    1.2
.3
   Commodities less food and beverages .    128.7   130.3   130.7   -1.7   1.6
.3
    Nondurables less food and beverages     132.2   133.9   137.1    -.4   3.7
2.4
    Durables ...........................    122.0   123.5   121.0   -3.0   -.8
-2.0
 Services .............................     185.0   185.4   186.3   4.5     .7
.5

           Special aggregate indexes

All items less medical care ...........     160.2   160.9   161.6   2.7     .9
.4
All items less shelter ................     154.9   155.8   156.6   2.1    1.1
.5
Commodities less food .................     130.8   132.4   132.8   -1.5   1.5
.3
Nondurables ...........................     148.4   149.5   151.6   1.7    2.2
1.4
Nondurables less food .................     134.9   136.6   139.7    -.1   3.6
2.3
Services less rent of shelter (1) .....     185.1   185.3   186.5   4.4     .8
.6
Services less medical care services ...     180.2   180.5   181.4   4.6     .7
.5
Energy ................................     101.0   101.2   105.6    .6    4.6
4.3
All items less energy ................. 172.2 173.0 173.4      3.0     .7
.2
 All items less food and energy ....... 174.4 175.4 175.6      2.8     .7
.1
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   1/ Index is on a December 1982=100 base.
   2/ Special index based on a substantially smaller sample.
   3/ Indexes on a December 1993=100 base.
   4/ Indexes on a December 1997=100 base.
   - Data not available.
NOTE: Index applies to a month as a whole, not to any specific date.



              BLS to Maintain Current Reference Base of 1982-84=100
                            for Most CPI Index Series
              -----------------------------------------------------
     The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will maintain the current
reference
base of 1982-84=100 used for most CPI index series. In addition, the
1967=100
reference base will continue to be the alternate base for the All Items
indexes.
BLS had previously indicated that it would change the reference base from
the
present 1982-84=100 base to a 1993-95=100 base, and eliminate the
alternate
reference base of 1967=100, with release of the January 1999 CPI. Now,
however,
these reference base changes will not occur.

           NEW DEFINITION FOR CHICAGO METROPOLITAN AREA
           --------------------------------------------
     Effective with the release of CPI data for January, 1998, the name
of the
geographic area covered by this release was changed to the Chicago-Gary-
Kenosha,
IL-IN-WI Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA). This area
includes
the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall,
Lake,
McHenry, and Will in Illinois; Lake and Porter counties in Indiana; and
Kenosha
county in Wisconsin. DeKalb and Kankakee counties are new to this
definition.

    CPI HOTLINE SERVICE PROVIDES LATEST INDEXES 24 HOURS A DAY
    ----------------------------------------------------------
     The all items CPI-U and CPI-W for the U.S. City Average and for the
Chicago
area are available to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through
the
Bureau's CPI Hotline service. This recorded message also provides
percent
changes from the prior period and from a year earlier as well as the
scheduled
release date for the next CPI issuance. The Hotline number in Chicago is
(312)
353-1880, menu option 2.

     BLS FAX-ON-DEMAND SERVICE OFFERS CPI DATA 24 HOURS A DAY
     --------------------------------------------------------
     If you have a fax machine and a touch-tone telephone, you can order
current
and historical CPI data and receive it within minutes by fax. The BLS
Fax-on-
Demand service offers over 280 documents containing the most popular BLS
data
including more than 65 documents containing CPI data for the nation, four
regions, and 30 metropolitan areas. To receive by fax a catalog of
documents
available on the service, call 312 353-1880, select menu option 1, and
when
prompted, order document 1000.

                   BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE CPI
                   ----------------------------
     The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average
change in prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and
services. The
Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes CPI's for two population groups:
(1) a CPI
for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) which covers approximately 87 percent of
the
total population and (2) a CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical
Workers (CPI-
W) which covers 32 percent of the total population. The CPI-U includes,
in
addition to wage earners and clerical workers, groups such as
professional,
managerial, and technical workers, the selfemployed, short-term workers,
the
unemployed, and retirees and others not in the labor force.

     The CPI is based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, and fuels,
transportation fares, charges for doctors' and dentists' services, drugs,
and
the other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living.
Prices are
collected in 87 urban areas across the country from about 50,000 housing
units
and approximately 23,000 retail establishments--department stores,
supermarkets,
hospitals, filling stations, and other types of stores and service
establishments. All taxes directly associated with the purchase and use
of
items are included in the index. Prices of food, fuels and a few other
items are
obtained every month in all 87 location. Prices of most other
commodities and
services are collected every month in the three largest geographic areas
and
every other month in other areas. Prices of most goods and services are
obtained by personal visits of the Bureau's trained representatives.

     In calculating the index, price changes for the various items in
each
location are averaged together with weights that represent their
importance in
the spending of the appropriate population group. Local data are then
combined
to obtain a U.S. city average. Separate indexes are also published by
size of
city, by region of the country, for cross-classifications of regions and
population-size classes, and for 26 local area. Area indexes do not
measure
differences in the level of prices among cities, they only measure the
average
change in prices for each base period.

     The index measure prices changes from a designated reference data -
1982-84
that equals 100.0. An increase of 16.5 percent, for example, is shown as
116.5.
This change can also be expressed in dollars as follows: the price of a
base
period "market basket" of goods and services in the CPI has risen from
$10 in
1982-84 to $11.65.

     For further details see the BLS Handbook of Methods, Bulletin 2490,
April
1997, Chapter 17, The Consumer Price Index.

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BLS Fax-on-Demand - Chicago (312) 353-1880                   Document No.
9201
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