Sun Belt States See the Highest Inflation

By: - June 13, 2022 12:00 am

A server delivers food at a Nashville restaurant where inflation and labor shortages have sent costs skyrocketing even as it prepares for summer crowds. Inflation nationwide hit a 41-year high in May. Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press

The Sun Belt is taking the brunt of historic inflation, while some Northeast states have been less hard hit, new federal data shows.

Consumer prices in May rose 8.6% from a year earlier, the highest rate in 41 years.

Some areas saw even higher inflation, including the Tampa area (11.3%), California’s Inland Empire around Riverside (9.4%) and Dallas (9.1%), the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics announced.

Although numbers for Phoenix and Atlanta were not fully reported in May, the cities already had rates above 10% for the year in April, the last time all prices were reported there. The bureau samples core costs such as food and fuel every month, but other items only on a rotating schedule.

Among regions, the states around Texas, including Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, had the largest increase at 9.9%. The lowest was 7.3% in the Middle Atlantic states from New Jersey to North Carolina, including Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Shelter, gasoline and food led the increases nationwide, according to the BLS data release. Gasoline and other energy costs rose 3.9% in May after dropping in April, and have now grown 34.6% in a year, the largest spike since 2005. Gasoline is up 48.7% for the year, while fuel oil has more than doubled.

Food costs are up 10.1% for the year. Shelter, which includes rent and homeowner costs, is up 5.5%.

Costs for items other than energy and food have risen 6% in a year.

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Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson

Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Journal News.