DENVER (KDVR) — A new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the rate of inflation in metro Denver in April and May tracked with what we’re seeing nationally, as prices of goods rose to 8.3% more expensive this year compared to last.
The prices are even higher for food and fuel, according to the latest Consumer Price Index report. Overall, prices in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area saw an increase of 1.3% over the past two months, with the food index rising 2.8% and the energy index rising 1.7%.
“Anything more than 5% is very high inflation,” said Metropolitan State University of Denver professor of economics Kishore Kulkarni. “Lagging behind the national number doesn’t mean much.”
When you look at the year-over-year costs for the Denver metro area, food prices rose 9.8% and energy prices skyrocketed by 24.7%, mainly fueled by the rising price of gasoline.
Kulkarni said poorer Coloradans will feel the inflation squeeze the hardest because wages aren’t keeping up with increased prices. But he said increasing wages as prices go up becomes a slippery cycle.
“When the wages go up, we obviously spend more and the prices go up again, and when prices go up, we ask for more wages,” Kulkarni said. “Employers try to resist as much the high wage demand as possible.”
Putting food and fuel aside, prices rose 1.1% in the Denver metro area over the last two months. Prices for household furnishings went up 2.3%, medical care rose 1.4% and prices for shelter went up 1.1% in that time period. The price of apparel went down 3%, which helped anchor the overall cost increase over April and May.
Year-over-year data shows prices for what’s called owners’ equivalent rent, or the money a property owner would have to pay in rent to be equivalent to their cost of ownership, rose 7.4% in the metro. The price of medical care rose 10.3% and used cars and trucks rose 18.9%.
You can see more statistics on how prices are rising in the Denver metro at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.