Consumers are facing the biggest price increases since the early 1980s — and inflation is much higher than the national rate in certain parts of the country. How high? In one area (Tampa Bay), inflation is running at nearly 10%.
The Labor Department reported that consumer prices soared 7.5% nationally between January 2021 and January 2022, marking the highest rate since February 1982 and topping last month’s 7% rate to set a new 40-year high.
Fueling the national inflation rate are skyrocketing energy and grocery prices. Gasoline prices are up 40% from last year, with overall energy prices up 27%. The cost of meat, poultry, fish and eggs spiked 12.2%, while grocery prices rose 7.4%.
“Americans’ budgets are being stretched in ways that create real stress at the kitchen table,” said President Joe Biden, in response to the inflation report.
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An estimation from Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, suggests inflation is costing the average household an extra $276 per month.
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Where inflation is highest
While inflation is putting a drain on wallets all over the country, residents in several regions are dealing with rates higher than the national one.
According to Labor Department data, inflation is above 7.5% in the Midwest, the South and the West. Perhaps surprisingly, inflation in the Northeast is trending much lower than that.
Here are the inflation rates by region:
- Midwest: 7.9%
- South: 7.8%
- West: 7.7%
- Northeast: 6.3%
Additionally, the Labor Department tracks inflation in key major metropolitan areas. Based on the currently available data, the Tampa Bay region has the highest inflation rate in the country.
Here’s a look at inflation in several major metro areas:
- Tampa, Florida: 9.6%
- Riverside, California: 8.6%
- San Diego: 8.2%
- Denver: 7.9%
- Dallas: 7.8%
- Los Angeles: 7.5%
- Minneapolis: 7.2%
- Chicago: 6.8%
- Boston: 6.3%
- Washington, D.C.: 6%
- New York: 5.1%
A ‘turning point’ for inflation?
As noted by Dean Baker, an economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, not all prices are rising, which provides “some grounds for optimism.”
“The positive story is flat …….