A new Republican report shows which parts of the country are paying the most because of the recent spike in inflation.
The Republicans on the Congressional Joint Economic Committee released a report Wednesday on that inflation, saying it is “eroding the value” of Americans’ paychecks.
“Americans this past year have faced the highest—and fastest climbing— inflation rates in four decades,” the report said. “Rapidly rising prices are harming American families, eroding the value of their paychecks, and increasing the financial strain of buying everyday goods like groceries and gasoline. Inflation is also eroding the value of savings, making it harder for Americans to build wealth.”
A steady stream of federal data shows that inflation has soared in the last year, in large part due to a huge spike in federal spending under the Biden administration. A graphic from the report shows which regions are hit hardest.
Ultimately, which states are hit hardest by price increases depends on which type of good you are looking at. From the report:
Housing inflation measures how fast prices are rising for home buyers and renters (i.e. shelter inflation), as well as the costs of furnishing homes and paying household utility bills. Shelter prices are rising the fastest for Americans in the Mountain West (8 percent), South Atlantic (5 percent), and East North Central (5 percent), likely reflecting increased demand for housing in those areas. The cost of household fuel and utilities, however, is rising faster in New England (19 percent) and the Middle Atlantic (16 percent), whereas shelter inflation in those areas are relatively low—increasing around 3 percent annually.
Food inflation reflects price increases at the grocery store and at restaurants, something that affects every American, but matters especially for lower-income households who dedicate a larger share of their tighter budgets to food. Grocery store prices are rising fastest in the Pacific (9 percent) and the Midwest (around 8 percent), while they are rising slowest in New England (2 percent). Alternatively, New England is facing one of the fastest inflation rates for food consumed away from home (7 percent), along with the Mountain West (7 percent) and the East North Central (8 percent).
The third category, energy, is one of the main drivers of inflation across the country. It measures price increases among commodities like gas, electricity, and natural gas. Within the energy category, gas prices were up between 37 percent and 47 percent across all regions, with the highest gas price increase in New England and the lowest in the Middle Atlantic. Electricity costs also rose fastest in New England (17 percent), but they were relatively flat in the East South Central (1 percent) and Midwest (3 to 5 percent). Alternatively, natural gas prices were up most in the Midwest (26 to 43 percent).
Finally, transportation inflation reflects rising prices of new and used cars and trucks, auto parts, and gas, which is included in this category as well as in energy. Rising transportation prices have been a substantial barrier to the economic recovery, pushing up costs across the supply chain and even dragging down economic growth. Within transportation, the price of used cars and trucks is up around 40 percent uniformly across the nation, ranging from 39 percent in the Pacific to 43 percent in New England. Prices of new vehicles are rising significantly slower than used vehicles, with new vehicle prices increasing fastest in the Midwest (13 to 14 percent) and only half as fast in the East South Central (7 percent).
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