Inland Empire’s inflation rate falls to 7.5% in November – San Bernardino Sun



The Inland Empire’s inflation rate fell to 7.5% in November, a price-hike pace that’s one-quarter slower than 2022’s peak.

Shrinking gains for energy and car-buying costs cut the one-year growth rate in the bimonthly local Consumer Price Index from 8.4% in September and the year’s high of 10% in March.

November’s modest chilling of the CPI for Riverside and San Bernardino counties, released Tuesday, is part of a US dip off highs not seen in four decades. These recent drops might nudge the Federal Reserve to slow the velocity of interest rate hikes designed to cool an overheated economy.

But November’s pocketbook pain is still at unhealthy levels. Prices for gasoline, rent, household furnishings and dining were still suffering double-digit gains for the past year.

Cooling trends

To see the mild slowdown in what you’re paying for goods and services, look at these key local consuming categories. Consider the one-year CPI change in November compared to this year’s ugliest inflation rate …

Used vehicles: Prices are down 2.1% in a year vs. 2022’s 40% inflation high.

Gasoline: Up 14.9% in a year vs. 2022’s 49% inflation high.

Natural gas: Up 1.2% in a year vs. 2022’s 31% inflation high.

Electricity: Up 9.3% in a year vs. 2022’s 24% inflation high.

Durables: Up 0.8% in a year for big-ticket purchases such as appliances and furniture vs. 2022’s 11.6% inflation high.

New vehicles: Up 0.2% in a year vs. 2022’s 9.2% inflation high.

Food at home: Up 9.4% in a year vs. 2022’s 12.2% inflation high.

Apparel: Up 8.9% in a year vs. 2022’s 11.3% inflation high.

Recreation: Up 6.0% in a year vs. 2022’s 7.7% inflation high.

Medical care: Up 7.5% in a year vs. 2022’s 9.1% inflation high.

Services (minus rent): Up 7.1% in a year vs. 2022’s 8.6% inflation high.

Household furnishings: Up 10.8% in a year vs. 2022’s 11.7% inflation high.

Dining out: Up 10.5% in a year vs. 2022’s 10.7% inflation high.

But two items – not minor expenses for many households – hit inflation highs for the year in November.

Rents rose 11.3% in a year and education/communication expenses were up 2.6% over 12 months.

Postscript

Note: The Fed carefully watches “core inflation” – that’s CPI minus volatile food and energy costs.

In the Inland Empire, this particular cost yardstick is up 6.4% in the year ended in November vs. 2022’s 7% high.

Yes, it seems like an unrealistic benchmark. How could a consumer survive without those two staples?

Well, you must eyeball this metric to gauge the central bank’s strategy for its economy-throttling rate hikes.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com



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