RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A report on consumer price inflation covering the Riverside metropolitan area for 2022 will be released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The bimonthly report, which covers northwestern Riverside County, as well as the cities of Ontario and San Bernardino, will be posted along with nationwide BLS data.
The agency’s January release showed pocketbook pressure was up 6.5 percent nationwide from December 2021 to December 2022.
Figures for Riverside metro are only published every two months. The Dec. 13 report indicated that the Consumer Price Index for the Riverside area was up 7.5 percent over the preceding 12 months.
According to the prior report, rents climbed 2.2 percent in October and November, but over the 12-month period ending Nov. 30, they were up 8.1 percent.
Gasoline prices have been declining in the Inland Empire, dovetailing with national trends, for the last six months. However, natural gas prices soared in December and January due to demand and speculative trading, and that’s expected to show up in Tuesday’s report. Food prices have continued to rise steadily and are expected to be a major component of the report.
In the 12-month period ending November 2021, the local CPI registered a 7.9 percent year-over-year increase. The 7.5 percent rate rise spanning November 2021 to November 2022 reflected the elevated trajectory of inflation impacting most sectors of the economy.
The Riverside metro area hasn’t recorded a comparable inflationary pattern since the local CPI was first published in 2018, data showed.
The accelerating consumer price hikes have been blamed by the Biden administration on the war in Ukraine and consequent energy supply disruptions, but critics have pointed to the administration’s restrictive domestic energy policies, as well as excessive spending, including the flood of dollars contained in relief packages, as root causes.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged during congressional testimony in June that inflation is the “top economic problem” facing the nation and that it would not be “transitory,” as she and Federal Reserve Bank Chair Jerome Powell had initially predicted.
The Fed’s Open Market Committee has been gradually adjusting its benchmark, or target, lending rate over the last year, with the most recent adjustment on Feb. 1, bringing it to 4.5 percent, in an attempt to soak up excess liquidity and slow spending. The rates hikes will continue for the foreseeable future, Powell said.
Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.