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June 12, 2019 1:00 PM, EDT

Top Inflation Hot Spots Clustered in California

Ian Waldie/Bloomberg News

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the national Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers rose 1.8% in May compared with last year, the lowest rate in three months. But the national average masks a wide divergence among metro areas.

BLS also released data showing that inflation among large Metropolitan Statistical Areas ranged from 1% to 4%. The latest available data for San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro shows a 4% surge compared with a much cooler 1% inflation rate in the St. Louis and Detroit metro areas. The four metros with the highest inflation rates are in California.

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On the East Coast, Baltimore is rising at a 2.6% rate, while just 40 miles south in Washington, year-over-year inflation was measured at 1.6%. Regional divergences from the Federal Reserve’s implicit inflation target can complicate the central bank’s mission of setting appropriate national monetary policy.

For the Chicago, Los Angeles and New York metro areas, BLS releases monthly data. For others the data are staggered with some metros released every other month.