Mar 16, 2022 - News

Inflation hits Tampa Bay hardest out of U.S. metros

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

Inflation has hit Tampa Bay the hardest out of U.S. metro areas.

Driving the news: Price hikes affecting Americans nationally have been even worse in battleground states since the beginning of the pandemic, Axios' Sarah Mucha writes.

The details: Axios calculated the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index from February 2020, just before the pandemic, to last month, the latest data available.

  • The difference was then compared to the national average.
  • The CPI's U.S. city average in February 2020 was 257.97; in February 2022 it was 281.15 — a growth of 8.2%.

Zoom in: The CPI in Tampa during that time period jumped 11.8%.

Our thought bubble: The higher rates in battleground areas stem from the fact they possess characteristics correlating with high inflation, Axios' chief economic correspondent Neil Irwin says.

  • They include factors such as an influx of residents and lots of college-educated adults.
  • Residents earn higher salaries, tend to bid up rents and have sufficient disposable income, allowing restaurants and stores to raise prices.

What we're watching: President Biden has made a concerted effort to blame recent gas price hikes on the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin, illustrating the Democratic pushback on inflation.

  • Biden argues the pain Americans are feeling at the pump is a direct result of Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
  • The question is whether timely political messaging will be enough for Democrats to win over vital voters in their quest to keep their congressional majorities.
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