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Tacoma-area prices down 1.4 percent over the past two months; annual inflation hereabouts up only 1.4 percent

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on Jan. 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
January 16, 2013 2:04 pm

Among the fiscal cliffs, canyons and cauldrons we face, there’s one you don’t need to worry about: Inflation.

For now, cross it off you list of cares and woes.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday issued its bimonthly compendium of financial data as compiled in the Consumer Price Index for the Greater Puget Sound area.

The news soothes. Overall prices were down 1.4 percent over the past two months. Not since December 2011 did inflation deflate, down 0.5 percent. Not since December 2008 – with a 1.5 percent decline – were prices down more than shown in the latest figures.

Specifically, most expenditure categories tracked by the BLS indicated declines.

• The cost of alcoholic beverages iced a 1.2 percent decline.
• Utility natural gas piped a fall of 7.2 percent.
• Apparel, a typically volatile category, buttoned up a slide of 8.4 percent.
• The greatest category deficit came with gasoline, which rang up a decline of 15.6 percent for the two months ending in December.
• The cost of groceries rose 0.4 percent for the two months, while restaurant meals rose 0.7 perecnt.
• The cost of shelter was unchanged from October of last year, as was the cost of electricity.
• Medical care, recreation, education and communication costs were all down – by 1.5 percent, 2.7 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.

For the past 12 months, overall prices were up a minimal 1.4 percent, the Bureau said. Among the contributors to the increase were restaurant purchases, up 2.5 percent; alcoholic beverages, up 4.6 percent; electricity, up 2.4 percent; furniture, up 1.9 percent; and shelter, up 2.1 percent.
Over the year, the cost of natural gas fell, as did the cost of clothing and gasoline.

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