Inflation is already in the double digits in four US cities

Inflation may have eased slightly in April, giving the Biden administration some relief from rising prices, but double-digit inflation is already a reality in some areas of the US.

The cities of Atlanta, Phoenix, Tampa, and the Riverside-San Bernardino metro area have all recorded year-over-year merchandise inflation above 10 percent, with Arizona’s Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale region showing the highest inflation at 11 percent.

The 11 percent figure for Phoenix was the highest inflation figure for metro areas in Bureau of Labor Statistics data going back 20 years.

Next highest at 10.8 percent is Atlanta, a city that has been experiencing high inflation for over a year, when prices shot up around 6 percent in April 2021.

Five other metro areas are close to double-digit inflation: Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Miami, and Seattle all have inflation rates of 9 percent or more.

Overall, prices in the country rose 0.3 percent (seasonally adjusted) in April after rising 1.2 percent in March. In the trailing 12 months, inflation was 8.3 percent in April, compared to 8.5 percent in March.

Price increases for housing, groceries, airline tickets and new vehicles made the largest contribution to the overall index. The price of energy rose 30 percent last year and the price of food rose 9.4 percent, the biggest 12-month rise since 1981.

The metro areas with the lowest inflation are San Francisco-Oakland at 5 percent (up from 5.2 percent in March) and New York at 6.3 percent (up from 6.1 percent last month). All other metro areas listed by the Bureau are in the 7 to 9 percent range.

Inflation BLS April 2022
Metropolitan area inflation in April 2022, selected areas.

The US Federal Reserve has already hiked interest rates to curb rising prices, raising interest rates by 50 basis points (or 0.5 percent) last week. Chairman Jerome Powell hinted that there could be two more rate hikes in 2022.

According to data from the American Automobile Association, the average price of regular gasoline has risen to over $4 a gallon in 45 states. A year ago it was over $4 in only one state—California.

Andrew Hunter, senior US economist at Capital Economics, said the inflation number “marks the beginning of a sustained decline” as supply constraints should ease.

However, “there is still a long way to go before inflation returns to more acceptable levels,” Eric Winograd, US economist at Asset Manager AB, told AP News.

Inflation concerns have weighed on President Biden’s approval rating, which is still in the low 40s. “I want every American to know that I take inflation very seriously and that it is my top domestic priority,” Biden said during a May 10 White House news briefing.

Gas prices May 2022
A sign displays gas prices at a gas station on May 10, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Inflation was 8.3 percent in April.
Getty Images Inflation is already in the double digits in four US cities

Rick Schindler

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