Inflation in Dallas-Fort Worth soared well above the national average with a yearly increase of 9.4% in July driven by higher grocery, electricity and gasoline bills.
The U.S. inflation rate, while still way too high for struggling household budgets, at least ticked in the right direction: down. The U.S. rate declined in July to 8.5% vs. a 40-year peak of 9.1% the prior month, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. The D-FW consumer price index is reported every other month and was 9.1% in May.
Anyone in North Texas shopping for a electric utility provider will find affirmation in the 47.3% increase in D-FW electricity costs reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Southwest region office.
Likewise for grocery shoppers: D-FW grocery prices increased 15.5%. And while gasoline prices have trended lower this summer, the cost to fill up in North Texas remains 43.2% higher than a year ago.
D-FW housing costs increased 10% in July, driven up by a 9.2% increase in rents. Other data and anecdotes all signify much higher rent prices in D-FW as demand for apartments exceeds the supply.
Gas prices have been declining for two months, and the scary forecasts have largely gone away.
AAA spokesman Andrew Gross said it’s possible the national average will fall below $4 a gallon this week. The national average is $4.010 a gallon, down from $4.684 a month ago as the price of oil has started to decline on recession fears.
The Texas average of $3.512 a gallon, while still up from a year ago, is down significantly from $4.241 a month ago, according to AAA Texas.
People have cut back on driving even in this peak summer driving season, according to Energy Information Administration data. Changing driving habits is one of the few ways households can lower the price they pay for necessities.
“Consumers are getting a break at the gas pump but not at the grocery store. Food prices, especially costs for food at home, continue to soar,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. He’s also expecting the “knee-buckling pace” of housing costs, which represented the largest slice of July U.S. inflation, to continue to move higher for months.
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