MERIC NEWS LETTER



Twelve Days of Christmas
Costs Moderate

You talking about me?

Historically low unemployment rates which only recently increased makes ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, pipers piping and drummers drumming more expensive this year, says the 22nd annual PNC Christmas Price Index. The tongue-in-cheek economic analysis by PNC Wealth Management is based on the costs of gifts in the classic holiday song.

The total "Twelve Days of Christmas" cost is $18,920 in 2006, a 3.1 percent increase over last year. Except for the 2000-2001 recession, prices have been climbing steadily since 1995. This rise largely mirrors the Consumer Price Index, the most widely used federal measure of inflation.

Source: PNC Financial Services Group

Tight Labor Market
In a reflection of 2006's tight labor market, maids-a-milking (paid 2006's federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour) were the only service providers not to see an increase this year. Ladies dancing were up 4 percent, lords-a-leaping and pipers piping 3 percent each, drummers drumming 3.4 percent.

The largest increases
were in pear trees, a shocking 44.4 percent increase, due to increased fuel costs and 2006's robust construction sector with its insatiable need for ornamental trees.

PNC Christmas Price Index - 2006

 

 

 

% Change

 

2005

2006

2006/05

One Partridge in a Pear Tree

$ 104.99

$ 144.99

38.1%

Partridge

$ 15.00

$ 15.00

0.0%

Pear Tree

$ 89.99

$ 129.99

44.4%

Two Turtle Doves

$ 40.00

$ 40.00

0.0%

Three French Hens

$ 45.00

$ 45.00

0.0%

Four Calling Birds

$ 399.96

$ 479.96

20.0%

Five Gold Rings

$ 325.00

$ 325.00

0.0%

Six Geese-a-Laying

$ 300.00

$ 300.00

0.0%

Seven Swans-a-Swimming

$ 4,200.00

$ 4,200.00

0.0%

Eight Maids-a-Milking

$ 41.20

$ 41.20

0.0%

Nine Ladies Dancing

$ 4,576.14

$ 4,759.19

4.0%

Ten Lords-a-Leaping

$ 4,039.08

$ 4,160.25

3.0%

Eleven Pipers Piping

$ 2,053.20

$ 2,124.00

3.4%

Twelve Drummers Drumming

$ 2,224.30

$ 2,301.00

3.4%

 

 

 

 

Total Christmas Price Index

$ 18,348.87

$ 18,920.59

3.1%

Source: PNC Financial Services Group

Many costs were flat, however: Gold rings rose 27.5 percent from 2004 to 2005 but not at all from 2005 to 2006 due, theorizes the survey, not to depressed gold prices but lessened demand. Geese-a-laying similarly rose 43 percent from 2004 to 2005 but not from 2005 to 2006. And prices for partridges, turtle doves and french hens -- what is it with all these birds? -- didn't rise at all from 2004 to 2006, once prices have been adjusted for inflation.

And, lest you think 'tis all too old-school, the survey also calculates the cost of Twelve Days gifts purchased on the Web -- another shocker. This year's total costs were 3.4 percent above last year's. Perhaps even ye most Medieval retailer has gone wi-fi.

For more information, visit the PNC Christmas Price Index website.

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