Average prices for commonly bought items inched up a bit at the start of the new year, forcing Shore area shoppers to dig just a little deeper into their pockets for basic necessities.
The average purchase price of common grocery items, as measured by the Asbury Park Press Consumer Price Index, has risen 1.2 percent -- or 32 cents -- since the end of November. The APP CPI tracks a gallon of milk, a gallon of unleaded gasoline, a small package of diapers, four pounds of oranges and an 11.5-ounce can of ground coffee.
Prices increased for oranges (2.4 percent), milk (8.1 percent) and diapers (2.2 percent), while the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline -- $3.34 on Wednesday -- continued its multi-month descent, dropping about 5 percent from November.
The increase in milk prices is no surprise. Published reports say that the average price for milk may be higher in 2013 than it was in 2012. The reason: fewer milk cows producing milk, and the increase in the cost of feed.
The total cost of the APP CPI shopping basket this month was $26.74, compared with $26.42 at the end of November.
The APP CPI is a local variation on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' CPI, which reflects the average cost of more than 200 categories purchased by about 87 percent of the U.S. population.
The federal CPI tracks month-to-month price increases for food and beverages, housing, apparel and transportation, among other things -- including important, but less frequent, expenses, such as college tuition and the purchase of houses and cars.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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