Consumer prices: Riverside, Ontario, San Bernardino see 2.7% surge in inflation in last 2 months

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CNS) -- Prices for goods and services climbed 2.7% throughout the Riverside metropolitan area in the last two months, outpacing surges nationwide and raising pocketbook pressure locally by an estimated 10% in the last year, federal officials said Tuesday.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' bimonthly Consumer Price Index for the Riverside area showed that, like the rest of the country, energy prices -- mainly gasoline -- were the main driver behind inflation, with a 15.3% jump in February and March in the metro area, which covers northwestern Riverside County, as well as the cities of Ontario and San Bernardino.

Food prices increased 1.5% in the bimonthly period, but "prices for food at home rose 9.8% since a year ago,'' the BLS stated. Take food and energy out of the equation -- so-called "core inflation'' -- and the local CPI was up 1.1% over the last two months, figures showed.

In the 12-month period ending March 2021, the local CPI was up 3.6%. The 10% rate for March 2021 to March 2022 reflects the galloping pace of inflation impacting most sectors of the economy, with no comparable increases for the Riverside metro area since the local CPI was first published in 2018, data showed.

The BLS said that nationally, the Urban Consumer CPI crept up 1.2% from February to March, but for the 12-month period ending March 2022, it was up 8.5%, representing the "largest 12-month increase since the period ending December 1981.''

The accelerating consumer price hikes have been blamed by the Biden administration on the war in Ukraine and consequent energy supply disruptions, but critics have pointed to the administration's restrictive domestic energy policies, as well as loose monetary policies, including the flood of dollars contained in spending packages, as root causes.
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