It’s official–rising prices for housing, gas, food and other goods and services across coastal Southern California brought the biggest year-over-year jump in inflation to the area since 1980.
The most recent reading of the consumer price index for Los Angeles and Orange counties rose at a 5.4 percent annual rate in October compared with 0.7 percent a year earlier, according to the Orange County Register.
Inflation in the Inland Empire hit 6.5 percent two months ago, the latest figure for Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Blame for the rise in consumer prices can be traced to a combination of events: a greater demand for goods and services fueled by a recovering economy; higher spending by consumers coming out of coronavirus lockdowns; and kinks in the global supply chain.
In the past year, local residents have experienced a 39.5-percent increase in the price of gasoline, a 25-percent rise in the cost of used vehicles, and an 8.4-percent bump for large home furnishings.
Meanwhile, home energy bills rose by 16.9 percent, cars and trucks by 9.5 percent, grocery receipts by 5.5 percent, restaurant tabs by 5.9 percent, home prices by 3.1 percent, as well as rent increases of 1.5 percent. Across the region, hospital and doctor bills were up 1.9 percent, while goods and services were 3.5 percent more expensive. Only the price of clothing was relatively unchanged, with a 1 percent increase.
The dramatic spike in consumer costs follows historic lows in the overall cost of goods and services for Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The 0.7 percent inflation in October 2020 tied a five-year low. Then prices shot up 4.7 percent over the next 12 months – the highest one-year leap since 1980, when inflation shot up from 10.5 percent to 15.8 percent.
The U.S. inflation was 6.2 percent compared to 1.2 percent in October 2020.
Across the West, inflation in the Bay Area in October was 3.8 percent, Seattle at 6.5 percent and 7.1 percent for Phoenix.
The highest overall increase in consumer costs among the nation’s 23 metropolitan areas was Atlanta, at 7.9 percent.
[O.C. Register] – Dana Bartholomew