Inflation Is Already in Double Digits in Four U.S. Cities

Inflation may have dipped slightly in April, giving the Biden administration some relief from rising prices, but for some areas of the U.S., double-digit inflation is already a reality.

The cities of Atlanta, Phoenix, Tampa and the metropolitan area of Riverside-San Bernardino have all registered over 10 percent inflation on goods compared to last year, with the highest being the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale region of Arizona, with 11 percent.

The 11 percent figure for Phoenix was the highest metropolitan area inflation number in the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which goes back 20 years.

The next highest with 10.8 percent is Atlanta, a city that has experienced high inflation for over a year, when prices leapt up around 6 percent in April 2021.

Five other metropolitan areas are close to double-digit inflation: Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Miami and Seattle all have inflation of 9 percent or higher.

Overall in the country, prices increased 0.3 percent in the month to April (on a seasonally adjusted basis) having risen 1.2 percent in March. Over the last 12 months, inflation was 8.3 percent in April, compared to 8.5 percent in March.

Increases in the prices of housing, food, airline fares, and new vehicles were the largest contributors to the overall index. The price of energy rose 30 percent over the last year, and food increased by 9.4 percent, the largest 12-month increase since 1981.

The metro areas with the lowest inflation are San Francisco-Oakland, with 5 percent (down from 5.2 percent in March), and New York with 6.3 percent (up from 6.1 percent last month). All other metropolitan areas listed by the Bureau are in the 7-9 percent range.

Inflation BLS April 2022
Metropolitan area inflation in April 2022, selected areas. BLS

The U.S. Federal Reserve has already raised interest rates in an effort to curb soaring prices, upping rates by 50 basis points (or 0.5 percent) last week. Chairman Jerome Powell hinted that there may be two further rate increases in 2022.

The average price of regular gasoline has now risen to over $4 per gallon in 45 states, according to data tracked by the American Automobile Association. A year ago, it was only over $4 in one state—California.

Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said that the inflation figure "marks the beginning of a sustained decline" as supply shortages should ease.

However, "there is still a long way to go before inflation returns to more acceptable levels," Eric Winograd, U.S. economist at asset manager AB, told AP News.

Inflation concerns have hurt President Biden's approval rating, which is still in the low 40s. "I want every American to know that I'm taking inflation very seriously and it's my top domestic priority," Biden said on May 10 during a White House press conference.

Gas prices May 2022
A sign displays gas prices at a gas station on May 10, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Inflation for April was 8.3 percent. Getty Images