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INTRODUCTION. The average of wholesale prices in 1910, as measured by the prices of the 257 commodities included in the present investigation, was 4 per cent higher than the average of 1909, and with this advance the level was 1.6 per cent above the high average of 1907 prices. Wholesale prices during 1910 were 19.1 per cent higher than in 1900; 46.7 per cent higher than in 1897, the year of lowest prices in the 21-year period from 1890 to 1910; 16.6 per cent higher than in 1890; and 31.6 per cent higher than the average price for the 10 years 1890 to 1899.
The highest point reached in 1907 was in the month of October, from which month there was a general decline until August, 1908. Beginning with September, 1908, wholesale prices increased without a break in any month up to March, 1910; in the months of April, May, and June prices declined slightly, but from June to December, 1910, prices remained very nearly at the same level. Wholesale prices in March, 1910, were higher than at any time in the preceding 21 years, being 10.2 per cent higher than in August, 1908, 7.5 per cent higher than in March, 1909, 21.1 per cent higher than the average yearly price of 1900, and 49.2 per cent higher than the average yearly price of 1897. Wholesale prices in December, 1910, however, were 1.4 per cent lower than in December, 1909, and 2.5 per cent lower than in March, 1910, but they were still 30.4 per cent higher than the average price for the 10 years 1890 to 1899, and 45.4 per cent higher than the prices of 1897.
PRICES OF COMMODITIES, 1910 COMPARED WITH 1909. Comparing 1910 with 1909 the group of commodities showing the greatest increase in prices was lumber and building materials, the increase in the group as a whole being 10.7 per cent. Six other groups show an increase in 1910 of 2.7 to 7.5 per cent, while of the remaining 2 of the 9 groups into which all commodities have been classified 1 shows a decrease of 0.1 per cent and 1 a decrease of 3 per cent.
Of the 257 articles for which wholesale prices were obtained, 148 showed an increase in the average price for 1910 as compared with 1909, 26 showed no change in the average price for the year, and 83 showed a decrease in price. The following table shows for each of the 9 groups the number of articles covered, the per cent of increase or decrease in the average price for 1910 as compared with that for 1909 for each group as a whole, and the number of articles that increased or decreased in price:
PER CENT OF INCREASE IN AVERAGE PRICES FOR 1910 AS COMPARED WITII AVERAGE PRICES FOR 1909 AND NUMBER OF ARTICLES THAT INCREASED OR DECREASED IN PRICE, BY GROUPS OF COMMODITIES.
From the above table it is seen that in farm products, taken as a whole, there was an increase in price of 7.5 per cent in 1910 over the average price for 1909. Among the 14 articles for which prices increased were hops, hogs, flaxseed, barley, live poultry, cotton, mules, sheep, hay, and cattle. The 6 articles that decreased in price were oats, corn, tobacco, wheat, hides, and rye.
Food as a whole increased 3.2 per cent in the average price for 1910 as compared with 1909. Among the 34 articles showing an increase in price were mess pork, bacon, lard, coffee, hams, dressed poultry, eggs, butter, mutton, and fresh beef. No change took place in the price of soda, starch, and one quotation for loaf bread. The principal articles of the 20 showing a decrease in price were canned tomatoes, flour, corn meal, rice, and potatoes.
In the group of cloths and clothing as a whole there was an average increase of 2.7 per cent in price, the increase being mainly in the prices of cotton goods and the decrease in the prices of raw wool and raw silk. In fuel and lighting as a group there was a decrease in price of 3 per
The commodities showing the greatest decrease in prices were
crude and refined petroleum. There was no considerable variation in the price of coal during the year.
In the metals and implements group the increase in the average price for 1910 over 1909 was 3 per cent. Twenty-two of the 38 articles in this group increased in price, 4 remained unchanged, and 12 decreased in price.
Twenty-one of the 28 articles included under lumber and building materials increased in price in 1910 as compared with 1909. Some of the products showing an increase in price were linseed oil, tar, turpentine, and glass. All the grades of lumber except spruce and yellow pine siding advanced in price during the year. In this group as a whole there was an increase in price of 10.7 per cent; one of the articles showed no change, and 6 articles decreased in price in 1910 compared with 1909.
The increase in the average price of drugs and chemicals in 1910 over 1909 was 4.1 per cent, the articles showing an increase in price being glycerin and opium. Muriatic acid, grain alcohol, and quinine showed a decrease in price.
House-furnishing goods as a whole decreased 0.1 per cent in price. Six of the 14 articles decreased, while 5 increased in price.
In the miscellaneous group there was a marked increase in the prices of rubber, cottonseed oil, and malt. There was no change in the price of plug tobacco and wrapping paper, while there was a decrease in the prices of 4 articles. Taken together, the group of miscellaneous articles increased in price 5.7 per cent.
The per cent of increase or decrease in the average wholesale price for 1910 in each of the 257 articles as compared with the price for 1909 is shown on pages 340 to 343.
In addition to the classification into the nine groups named above, the 257 articles included in the investigation have been divided into two general groups, designated as raw commodities and manufactured commodities. A clearly defined classification of this character can not be made, but the commodities here designated as raw may be said to be such as are marketed in their natural state and such as have been subjected to only a preliminary manufacturing process, thus converting them into a marketable condition, but not to a suitable form for final consumption, while the commodities here designated as manufactured are such as have been subjected to more than a preliminary factory manipulation and in which the manufacturing labor cost constitutes an important element in the price. In the group designated as raw are included all farm products, beans, coffee, eggs, milk, rice, pepper, tea, vegetables, raw silk, wool, coal, crude petroleum, copper ingots, pig lead, pig iron, bar silver, spelter, pig tin, brimstone, jute, and rubber--a total of 54 articles. All the other articles are classed as manufactured commodities.
As thus grouped, the average wholesale price of raw commodities for 1910 was 2.1 per cent above that for 1909, and the average wholesale price of manufactured commodities for 1910 was 4.6 per cent above that for 1909.
The following table shows for all commodities the per cent that the average price for each month of the year 1910 was above or below the average price for the year and, in the last column, the per cent of decrease of the average December price below the average price for each preceding month:
COMPARISON OF AVERAGE PRICE FOR EACH MONTH OF 1910 WITH THE AVERAGE PRICE FOR THE YEAR, AND OF THE AVERAGE PRICE FOR DECEMBER, 1910, WITH THE AVERAGE PRICE FOR EACH PRECEDING MONTH OF THE YEAR.
In March, 1910, prices were at the highest point of the year, being 1.7 per cent above the average price for the year. Prices advanced from January to March, declined each month from April to July, advanced slightly during August and September, declined slightly again in October and November, and advanced slightly in December.
From the figures in the last column of the table it is seen that the average of wholesale prices in November, 1910, were lower than the average price for any other month of the year. The price for December was 0.2 per cent above the November price and 2.5 per cent lower than that for March, the month of highest prices.
The change that took place in wholesale prices month by month during 1910 in each of the nine groups already referred to will be seen in the following table:
COMPARISON OF THE AVERAGE PRICE FOR EACH MONTH OF 1910 WITH AVERAGE PRICE FOR THE YEAR, AND OF AVERAGE PRICE FOR DECEMBER, 1910, WITH THE AVERAGE PRICE FOR EACH PRECEDING MONTH OF THE YEAR, BY GROUPS OF COMMODITIES.
Per cent of price Per cent of Per cent of price Per cent of Percent of price Per cent of
(+) or decrease (-) crease (-)
crease (-) in Decemin Decem
in DecemAbove Below ber as com- Above Below ber as com- Above Below ber as comaverage average pared with average average pared with average average pared with price for price for each pre price for price for
price for price for each preyear. year. ceding year. year. ceding year. year. ceding month. month.