The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports consumer prices in the greater Houston area went up a little over one percent in January and February. It was the first increase since June and July of last year. Spokeswoman Cheryl Abbott says the increase was led by rising energy and transportation costs:
“And it’s usually gasoline — every now and then it’s the household energy component too — in the last six to eight months.”
Gasoline prices went up 16 and a half percent in January and February, after falling nearly 60 percent in the second half of last year. Gas prices weren’t alone in pushing the CPI upward.
“For the two month period we also saw increases in shelter costs and medical care. So those two helped push the rate up a little bit. But on the other hand we saw declines in three of the categories.”
Those categories showing declines are clothing, recreation, education and communication. Abbott says Houston’s living costs mirror the national CPI pretty closely.
“Over the year prices were barely changed though, because of declines in energy. We saw an increase of just 0.2 percent for the annual rate. And that actually matches exactly what’s happening at the national level.”
Abbott says these numbers tell us that a market basket of goods and services that cost 100 dollars in 1982, would have cost 188 dollars last month.
Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.