Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Atlanta area inflation in July for key items remains a problem for consumers


Costs for food at home and rent remained elevated in July, although gas costs declined after rising in the previous two months.

While the All-Items index in Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, is published only for even numbered months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does produce a few numbers for the Atlanta area on a monthly basis and these are now available for July 2022.

In July, costs for food at home rose 1.9%, the seventh consecutive month that this index has posted a monthly increase of greater than one percent. Over the first seven months of 2022, costs for food at home have increased 11.3%, while over the past 12 months, the index has risen 13.0%, the highest 12-month increase since BLS began posting monthly changes in 1999.

Rent of primary residence increased 1.0% in July, a smaller monthly increase than was posted in May and June of this year. So far in 2022, rent costs have risen 6.5% and have increased 12.8% over the past 12 months. As with food at home, this is the highest 12-month increase since BLS began posting monthly changes in 1999.

Gasoline costs dropped 6.6% in July, after rising in May and June. Despite last month’s decline, gasoline prices have increased 30.3% since the beginning of 2022 and have risen 39.6% over the past 12 months. This increase has occurred despite the governor’s order since April to suspend the collection of motor fuel and diesel fuel taxes. Without this suspension, retail gasoline costs would have been even higher.

National comparisons

Comparing increases in consumer costs for the nation with those in the Atlanta area, costs for food at home have risen at approximately the same rate nationally as in the Atlanta area, while the Atlanta area continues to see faster rising rents. Nationally, rent of primary residence has increased 6.3%, less than half of the rate of increase recorded in the Atlanta area.

Gasoline costs have risen at a slightly slower rate in the Atlanta area than for the nation, which posted in July a 12-month increase of 44.0%. While a few states, including Connecticut, New York, and Maryland, have suspended their state motor fuel taxes, which offsets a portion of the cost increase for consumers and subsequently lowers the index for gasoline (all types), most states continue to collect their tax.

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