Southern California’s 6.6% inflation rate highest in 31 years

Inflation’s hit to a Southern Californian’s checkbook hasn’t been this hard in 31 years — a time when “Home Alone” was a blockbuster hit and George H. W. Bush was president.

Consumer prices in Los Angeles and Orange counties rose at a 6.6% annual rate in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Everything from gasoline and household fuels to used cars and appliances and even recreation got really expensive. Inflation has risen a long way from 1.5% in December 2020.

These cost jumps are by no means just a local phenomenon. Nationwide inflation hit 7% in December — the highest rate since 1981. In Phoenix, inflation was 9.7%, and in Seattle 7.6%. The Bay Area’s cost of living was relatively mild, up only 4.2%. Inland Empire inflation, measured back in November, was 7.9%.

A curious mix of pandemic forces is powering this inflationary rush. The economy is struggling to deal with persistent coronavirus strains, which has led to shortages of workers and raw materials. Shoppers are weathering thinly stocked shelves and delivery delays due to supply chain challenges.

People shop for groceries at a supermarket in Glendale, California January 12, 2022. – The seven percent increase in the Labor Department’s consumer price index (CPI) over the 12 months to December was the highest since June 1982, as prices rose for an array of goods especially housing, cars and food. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

On the flip side, demand for goods and services has soared because consumers are flush with cash. Hiring sprees are pushing up wages. Government stimulus programs sent taxpayer checks and cut interest rates, in turn, boosting the values of stocks and real estate.

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My trusty spreadsheet says we are living amid a stunning reversal in L.A.-O.C.’s overall cost of living.

December’s …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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