TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — While the national inflation rate shows some relief, dropping a full 0.6% since June, the same was not true in Tampa. The previous measure for Tampa’s inflation levels showed an 11.3% cost increase compared to 2021. The newest rating, released Wednesday, showed only a 0.1% drop in the past two months.
Gas prices have fallen, helping the overall inflation rate reduce for the United States, but even with easing prices, Tampa remains more expensive than the nation.
In the Tampa metro, which covers Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, the food index rose 2.7% from May to July, but energy decreased 1.8%. However, compared to the previous year, energy and food were up 32.5% and 7.7%, respectively, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report.
Food at home, groceries, rose 9.3% while food away from home, such as going out to eat, increased 5.5%. Higher costs have meant higher prices for businesses and shoppers, in addition to the record high fuel costs of the past few months.
Energy rose 32.5% due to how much gasoline had pushed up over the past year in Tampa. For just the local area, gasoline was 42.4% higher than the year before, and electricity costs had increased 19.7%. Household energy, generally, rose 20% compared to 2021.
Getting into the largest cost drivers aside from fuel, rent and shelter generally were still pushing bigger numbers.
The cost of housing in the Tampa area, overall, increased 13.8%, while rent had increased 14.9%. Shelter and housing costs include both rental prices and mortgages, or “owners’ equivalent rent of residence.” For homeowners, costs had increased 12.6%, which, while lower than rental price increases, still affects affordability.
Nationally, food prices increased in a bigger way. For the highest 12 month increase since March 1979, food at home indexes rose 13.1% nationally, putting Tampa lower than the national level. National numbers were also higher for gasoline, at 44% to Tampa’s 42.4%. Housing costs, nationally, only rose 5.7% compared to 2021.
Products adding pain to prices for all Americans were mainly related to food. Egg prices rose 38% compared to July 2021, while coffee prices rose 20.3%, and milk product costs increased by 15.6%. Even staples like butter, margarine, and peanut butter had price increases of over 10%.
Butter and margarine, collectively, had prices rise 26.4%, but margarine on its own rose even higher at 32.23%. Peanut butter increased 13.1% on the shelf, while baby food prices went up 15% nationally. Even carbonated drinks, like soda, had prices go up 12.9% compared to last year.
The national Consumer Price Index showed decreases overall, but the necessities Americans buy did not see price decreases. In Tampa, some of those fluctuations were less intense, but in an area that has had continuously higher levels of price increases, lower fluctuations doesn’t mean cheaper prices.