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U.S.-made Apparel Prices Inch Up in September

Overall PPI rose 1.1 percent in the month.

WASHINGTON — U.S.-made apparel prices rose 0.1 percent in September compared with August, the Labor Department’s Producer Price Index showed Friday.

On a year-over-year basis, domestic apparel prices increased 1 percent. U.S.-made women’s and girls’ apparel prices edged up 0.1 percent in September and were 0.2 percent higher than a year earlier. Men’s and boys’ apparel prices were flat last month, but were 3.2 percent higher than in September 2011.

The PPI isn’t considered a key indicator of prices for apparel, since imports comprise an estimated 85 percent of all goods sold at retail. The Consumer Price Index, which measures all goods sold at retail and is considered the key barometer for prices, will be released on Tuesday.

Within the women’s and girls’ category, several U.S.-made price categories, including woven shirts and blouses, dresses and swimwear, were up 0.2 percent last month, while prices for knit shirts and blouses rose 0.1 percent. In the men’s and boys’ category, prices on knit dress and sport shirts inched up 0.5 percent last month, while prices on lightweight nontailored coats, jackets and vests fell 0.9 percent and prices on regular-weight nontailored coats, jacket and vests declined 0.5 percent. All other prices were flat in the men’s and boys’ category.

In the overall economy, wholesale prices on finished goods advanced 1.1 percent in September, driven by higher energy prices. Core prices, excluding volatile food and energy prices, were flat.

“In September, for the second month in a row, the PPI jumped more than 1 percent because of a surge in energy prices, mainly gasoline [up 9.8 percent],” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight. “We don’t expect gasoline prices to change much in October, but at least we will not see a third big jump in succession.”

Further down the pipeline, U.S-made prices on yarns fell 0.6 percent in September and were 12.7 percent below a year earlier, while prices on greige fabrics rose 0.4 percent last month and were 7 percent lower year-over-year. Prices on finished fabrics fell 0.7 percent in September and were 0.1 percent above prices in September 2011.