Monday AM May 18th, 2009

image of shoppers

Consumer prices rose 0.9 per cent in Houston during those two months — slightly less than the previous bimonthly gain of 1.1 per cent.ξ Cheryl Abbot is an economist with the Southwest Regional Office of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"And the overall inflation rate in the Houston area for the 12 months ending in April was just 0.5 per cent.ξ So prices overall were up less than one per cent."

Ed: "What are we paying more money for?"

"Well, the biggest factor is this particular period was higher clothing prices.ξ What's interesting, though, and shows volatility in clothing prices is that over the year, the cost of apparel was still down 3.8 per cent."

Abbot says with some items, it's helpful to look at averages over a longer period of time.

"Now. when you're looking at things like food or gasoline — items that you spend money on frequently — you probably would like to look at the two-month indicators, because you're feeling those effects more frequently.ξ But if you're looking at the all-items, out-of-pocket, everything-I-spend-money-on, then I think that looking at a one-year change is a better indicator."ξξ

Abbot says the gasoline index is up by nearly ten per cent in March and April, but over the year, prices are down by nearly 40 per cent.ξ

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.


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