Sep 15, 2022 - Politics

Phoenix metro area leads U.S. in consumer price index jump

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

The Phoenix metro area experienced the biggest consumer price index (CPI) increase in the country over the past year — 13%.

State of play: That's well above the national average, which increased by 8.3% over the past year, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Nationally, the CPI jumped by 0.1% last month after holding steady in July.
  • The Valley's increase is not only the highest in the nation, but it's the highest any metro area in the U.S. has seen in 20 years, Bloomberg reported.

Yes, and: Arizona also has higher gas prices — $4.04 per gallon — than the national average, which is $3.70.

  • Nine states, mostly in the West, have higher gas prices than Arizona.

Why it matters: The numbers are bad news for consumers and for Democrats who have been hoping that slight economic improvements, coupled with the overturning of Roe, would help them stave off a red wave.

What they're saying: "Welcome to Joe Biden and Mark Kelly’s America, where rising inflation is the new norm, groceries are more expensive, gas prices are up, and real wages have been negative for 17 straight months — the Democrats have failed spectacularly and Arizonans are hurting the most," Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters told The Arizona Republic.

The other side: Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly said he's pushed Biden to take steps to lower energy and prescription drug costs, and said "we'll keep working on solutions that bring down these rising costs and also make our economy less reliant on foreign countries and supply chains overseas."

1 ironic thing: The CPI numbers came out on the same day that President Biden held a ceremony at the White House to celebrate the wide-ranging climate, tax and health care bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act.

Between the lines: Americans — and voters — are living in a variety of economic micro-climates, with disparities driven by differences in energy, food and hosting costs.

  • There’s no way to sugarcoat the overall number, and it diminished hope for Fed Chair Jay Powell to achieve a "soft landing" for the economy, Axios' Neil Irwin and Courtenay Brown wrote.
  • Biden has largely blamed the war in Ukraine and snarled supply chains for rising prices but has been quick to take credit for falling gas prices.
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