Local
12:44 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Rent, Clothing, Medical Costs Rising in Pittsburgh

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported the Pittsburgh area's Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 4.3 percent from the first half of 2011 to the first half of 2012. The increase was above average, as the national CPI increased by only 2.3 percent.

According to BLS economist Kara Markley, the rising costs are largely due to "core inflation" -- that is, increasing costs for goods other than energy and food.

"The major contributor to that rise in the 'all items less food and energy index' was shelter, which rose 5.6 percent from the first half of 2011," said Markley. "Apparel was also up 11 percent, and medical care was up 4.5 percent."

Markley said the 'shelter' category refers to equivalent rental prices, not home values.

The cost of food rose 4.5 percent in the Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area, which includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties.

Energy costs 2 percent more than it did a year ago. That figure includes both a 3.9 percent increase in automobile gasoline prices and a 6 percent drop in monthly bills for utility gas service. Home gas prices have been declining for three years straight.