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PER CENT OF INCREASE OR DECREASE IN THE AVERAGE WHOLESALE PRICES OF
COMMODITIES IN DECEMBER, 1910, COMPARED WITII DECEMBER, 1909—Continued.
Bread: crackers, oyster....
2.6 3.3 4.3 4.6 4.9
5.1 5.1 5.2 5.6 7.7 7.9 8.5
Beans: medium, choice.
steers (Chicago market). Sugar: granulated.. Flour: wheat, spring patents. Sugar: 89° fair refining. Rice: domestic, choice, head. Meat: hams, smoked, loose.. Cheese: New York State, full cream.. Poultry: dressed, fowls, western, dry
Spices: pepper, Singapore..
Jersey No. 3...
11.0 11.5 12. 2 13.8
11.1 15.4 16.4 15.7 21.4 21.4 22. 2 25.5 54.1 30.4 63.6
15. 1 18.0 20.4 21.0 21.1 21. 2 21.3 23.6 29.9 29.9 41.8
Cloths and clothing, 65 articles.
2.3 2.4 4.0
PRICE SAME AS IN DECEMBER, 1909. Blankets: all wool, 5 pounds to the pair. Boots and shoes: men's vici kid shoes,
Goodyear welt.. Calico: American standard prints, 64 by Carpets: Brussels, 5-frame, Bigelow. Carpets: ingrain, 2-ply, Lowell. Carpets: Wilton, 5-frame, Bigelow.. Cotton thread: 6-cord, J. & P. Coats.. Denims: Amoskeag. Drillings: brown, Pepperell Ginghams: Amoskeag.. Hosiery: women's cotton hose, seamless,
fast black, carded yarn... Linen shoe thread: ios, Barbour. Underwear: shirts and drawers, white,
all wool, 18-gauge.. Underwear: shirts and drawers, white
merino, 60 per cent wool, 24-gauge.. Women's dress goods: cashmere, all
wool, Atlantic mills. Women's dress goods: cashmere, cotton
warp, Atlantic Mills F.. Women's dress goods: Poplar cloth. Women's dress goods: cashmere, cotton
Sheetings: bleached, Atlantic..
4.2 4.5 5. 1 6.1 6.3 6.3 6.9 8.0 10.0 11.1 15.6 16.1
PRICE DECREASED. Boots and shoes: men's vici calf shoes,
Blucher bal Broadcloths: first quality, black. Suitings: indigo blue, all wool, 14-ounce,
Middlesex standard.. Hosiery: men's cotton half hose, seam
less, fast black, carded yarn Sheetings: brown, Pepperell R Sheetings: bleached, Pepperell. Ginghams: Lancaster. Women's dress goods: Sicilian cloth. Boots and shoes: women's solid grain
shoes... Women's dress goods: Panama cloth...
3.0 3. 2 3.6 3. 7 4.0
4.8 5. 2
PER CENT OF INCREASE OR DECREASE IN THE AVERAGE'WHOLESALE PRICES OF COMMODITIES IN DECEMBER, 1910, COMPARED WITH DECEMBER, 1909_Continued.
Cloths and clothing, 65 articles—Concluded.
PRICE SAME AS IN DECEMBER, 1909.
2. 2 2.8 3.1 4.5 5.0 5. 3 6. 3 6.6 7.5 8.5 10. 2 10.5 14. 2 16.4 16.7 17.9 18.7
Hammers: Maydole No. 14..
Shovels: Ames No. 2..
12.2 13.3 15. 9 17.7 25.0
19.1 20. 1 20.1
1 Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.
PER CENT OF INCREASE OR DECREASE IN THE AVERAGE WHOLESALE PRICES OF COMMODITIES IN DECEMBER, 1910, COMPARED WITH DECEMBER, 1909–Concluded.
Lumber and building materials, 28 articles.
1.5 3.3 3.4 12.5 14.3 22.7 28.0
9.1 12.8 23.4 39.9
Table 11.— Average yearly actual and relative prices of commodities, 1890 to 1910; monthly actual and relative prices, January to December, 1910, and base prices (average for 1890–1899), pages 412 to 464.—This table shows for each commodity the average price for each of the 21 years from 1890 to 1910 and for each month from January to December, 1910. In the parallel column following is given the relative price for each year or month-that is, the per cent that the price in each year or month is of the average price for the 10 years from 1890 to 1899. In the line above the price for 1890 is given the average price for the 10-year period taken as the basis of comparison.
The average price for each year or month was obtained, as has been explained on page 339, by dividing the sum of the quotations shown in Table I by the number of quotations. The average for articles in
I which a range is quoted is computed from the mean of the two prices limiting the range.
It was impossible to secure quotations during all of the months of 1910 for 13 of the 257 articles, viz: Buckwheat flour, cabbage, onions, and all the 10 descriptions of lumber.
For the 11 articles quoted in 1908 for the first time, no monthly or yearly relative price could be computed because the average for the base period of 10 years was not secured. However, these articles have been given due weight in the subgroups and general groups to which they belong. See discussion on page 349.
In reducing a series of actual prices to relative prices or index numbers a base must first be chosen, and this may be either a single quotation, the average price for one year, or the average for two or more years. If the price for a single year is chosen, it is essential that that year be a normal one, for if prices are high in the year chosen for the base any subsequent fall will be unduly emphasized, while on the other hand, if prices are low any subsequent rise will be unduly emphasized. For the reason that all the commodities probably never present a normal condition as regards prices in any one year, it was decided that an average price for a number of years would better reflect average or approximately normal conditions and form a broader and more satisfactory base than would the price for any single year. The period chosen as this base was that from 1890 to 1899—a period of 10 years. For the 10 articles that do not show prices for the entire period of 10 years the base in each case is the average of the years prior to and including 1899.
The relative prices as shown in this and other tables have been calculated in the usual manner and represent simply the percentage which each monthly or yearly price is of the base price. The average price for the first 10 years of the period; that is, the base, always represents 100, and the percentages for each month or year enable the reader to measure readily the rise and fall, from month to month or from year to year, of the prices of each single commodity, of any
group of commodities, or of all the commodities involved. These commodities are arranged in alphabetical order under each of the nine general groups, as in Table I.
In order that the method pursued may be more readily understood, the reader is referred to the table itself, as given on pages 412 to 464. Taking up the first commodity shown, barley, we find that the average price per bushel for the base period, 1890 to 1899, inclusive, was 45.34 cents; the average price for January, 1910, was 72.69 cents; that for February was 71.25 cents; the average for 1910 was 71.97 cents, etc. The relative price for the base period, as heretofore explained, is always 100, and is so given in the table. The relative price for January, 1910, is shown to be 160.3, or 60.3 per cent higher than the base or average for the 10 years. In February the relative price was 157.1, or 57.1 per cent above the base, etc. The relative price for the year 1910 was 151.7, or 51.7 per cent above the base. The remainder of the table may be analyzed in a similar manner.
The value of prices given in this relative form, it will readily be seen, consists in the means afforded for tracing and measuring tho changes from month to month, from year to year, or from period to period, and more especially in the grouping of the prices of a sufficient number of commodities to show the general price level. It must not be assumed that a system of relative prices of representative commodities will enable one to trace the causes of changes in the general price level or to determine the effect of such changes on any class of consumers or on all consumers. The use of such a system is to show the general course of prices from time to time of one commodity, or of a group of commodities.
It is stated on page 336 that certain articles are no longer quoted and other articles of the same class are substituted.
An explanation of the method of computing the relative price of these articles is necessary, and harness leather will be used as an illustration. It must be understood that during the years when "country middles” were quoted, they were assumed to represent the several grades of oak harness leather; that is, that the course of prices of a standard grade of oak harness leather in an index number of prices fairly rerepresents the course of prices of the various grades of oak harness leather. Therefore, when it became necessary to substitute, in 1902, “packers' hides” for the "country middles," prices were secured for packers' hides for both 1901 and 1902, and it was found that the average price for the year 1902 was the same as, or 100 per cent of, the average price for the year 1901. The relative price of country middles in 1901 was 114.7 (average price for the 10 years, 1890 to 1899, equals 100), and if country middles represented oak harness leather at that time, and packers' hides represented the class in 1902, harness leather (shown by the price of packers’ hides) remained the same price in 1902 as in 1901, and the relative price in