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In 1901 the Bureau of Labor collected data relating to the wholesale prices of the principal staple commodities sold in the United States for the period from 1890 to 1901, inclusive. The actual prices for the 12 years and the relative prices computed therefrom were published in Bulletin 39, issued in March, 1902. The purpose of the investigation was to furnish a continuous record of wholesale prices and to show the changes in the general price level from year to year. The investigation thus begun has been continued each year and the results published in the March issue of the Bulletin to show actual prices for the year immediately preceding and relative prices for the period since 1890. The present Bulletin contains actual prices for 1907 and relative prices for the 18 years from 1890 to 1907. In these reports wholesale prices have been presented for a large number of carefully selected representative staple articles secured in representative markets of the United States. That it would be impossible to secure prices for all articles in all markets is so apparent that the fact hardly need be stated. In the present report prices are given for 258 representative articles. With a very few exceptions these articles are the same as have been covered in the preceding reports on this subject. Retail prices of food, which indicate better than wholesale prices of food the changes in cost of living, are published in the July Bulletin of each year.

The present investigation shows that wholesale prices, considering the 258 commodities as a whole, reached a higher level in 1907 than at any other time during the 18-year period covered. The average for the year 1907 was 5.7 per cent higher than for 1906; 44.4 per cent higher than for 1897, the year of lowest prices during the 18-year period; and 29.5 per cent higher than the average for the 10 years from 1890 to 1899. Prices reached their highest point during the 18-year period in October, 1907, the average for that month being

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1.2 per cent higher than the average for the year 1907 and 2.8 per cent higher than the average for December, 1906, the month of highest prices in 1906.

An examination of the prices of the various articles covered by the investigation shows that while there was a large average increase for the year taken as a whole the increase in price did not extend to all commodities. Of the 258 articles for which wholesale prices were obtained 172 showed an increase in the average price for 1907 as compared with 1906, 35 showed no change in the average price for the year, and 51 showed a decrease in price. The following table divides the articles for which prices were secured into nine groups and shows for each group the number of articles covered, the per cent of increase in the average price for 1907 as compared with that for 1906 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 1907 AS COMPARED WITII AVERAGE PRICES FOR 1906, AND NUMBER OF ARTICLES THAT INCREASED OR DECREASED IN PRICE, BY GROUPS OF COMMODITIES.

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From the above table it is seen that when the commodities are considered by groups all of the nine groups showed an increase in price in 1907 as compared with 1906. In farm products, taken as a whole, there was an increase in price of 10.9 per cent in 1907 over the average price for 1906, this increase being greater than in any other one of the nine groups. There was an increase in price in 11 of the 16 articles for which prices were obtained. All of the staple grains, cotton, hay, and hops showed a decided increase in price. The articles that showed a decrease in the average price for the year were sheep, hogs, and hides, which decrease in the average price for the year resulted from the fall in price during the last two months of the year.

Food as a whole increased 4.6 per cent in the average price for 1907 as compared with 1906. In this group, 34 articles increased in price, 6 showed no change, and 13 decreased in price. Among the articles

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showing an increase were beef, flour, butter, milk, cheese, rice, meal, eggs, lard, and sugar. No change took place in the price of bread. The principal articles showing a decrease were coffee, potatoes, mutton, beans, prunes, and evaporated apples. Some of the varieties of pork and fish showed a slight increase in the average price for the year, while other varieties showed a slight decrease.

Of the 75 articles included under cloths and clothing, 54 showed an increase in price, 11 showed no change, and 10 showed a decrease. In the group as a whole there was an average increase of 5.6 per cent in price, the principal increase being in cotton goods and silk.

In fuel and lighting as a group there was an increase in price of 2.4 per cent. Petroleum and coke increased in price, as did also some kinds of coal. Other kinds of coal decreased slightly in price.

In the metals and implements group the increase in the average price for 1907 over 1906 was 6.1 per cent. Of a total of 38 articles in the

group there was an increase in the price of 25 articles, including barb wire, copper, iron, steel billets, nails, tin plate, etc. Six articles, including steel rails, did not change in price and in 7 articles there was a decrease.

Twenty-one of the 27 articles included under lumber and building materials increased in 1907 as compared with 1906. Nearly all kinds of timber products showed a marked increase. There was a decrease in the prices of brick, window glass, turpentine, and spruce. In the group as a whole there was an increase in price of 4.9 per cent.

The increase in the average price of drugs and chemicals in 1907 over 1906 was 8.3 per cent, the articles showing the greatest increase being glycerin and opium. Wood alcohol showed a marked decrease in price.

House furnishing goods as a whole increased 6.8 per cent in price. The increase was in furniture, wooden ware, and cutlery. Earthenware and glassware did not change in price. No article included in this group showed a decrease as compared with 1906.

In the miscellaneous group there was a marked increase in the prices of news paper, cotton-seed oil, malt, and starch. There was no change in the price of smoking tobacco, and there was a decrease in the prices of rubber and 3 other articles. Taken together, the .group of miscellaneous articles increased in price 5 per cent. The per cent of increase or decrease in the average wholesale price for 1907 for each of the 258 articles as compared with the price for 1906 is shown on pages 312 to 315.

In addition to the classification into the nine groups named above, the 258 articles included in the investigation have been divided into two general groups, designated as raw commodities and manufactured commodities. Of course fixed definitions of these classes can not be made, but the commodities here designated as raw may be said to be

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