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Price of Paradise: Tampa Bay inflation rate tops nation's largest metro areas

Eight percent inflation rate exceeds national average
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Posted at 11:24 PM, Dec 12, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — In new data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, the Tampa Bay area's eight percent year-over-year inflation rate for November is the highest in the country. Twelve of the nation's largest metro areas were included in the study.

“You’re always going to have inflation year over year, but eight percent, that’s really high," Mike Snipes, instructor of economics at the University of South Florida, said.

The most expensive hike in price is in fuel and gas, where people can expect to spend 58 percent more at the pumps compared to this time last year.

Snipes told ABC Action News, the higher prices are primarily thanks in part to people migrating to Tampa Bay during the pandemic, and opening their wallets to spend when others are still not able to.

“Those people are primarily wealthy. So, when you have a lot of wealthier people coming in from out of state that’s going to put a pretty big upward pressure on prices," he said.

However, a lot of what they want to spend on simply is not available.

Snipes said the high demand, coupled with a lagging supply chain rebounding from the pandemic, is a duo also at blame for higher price tags. It is especially evident in the auto industry where used cars and trucks are 31 percent more expensive due to a lack of new vehicles in production.

"It's going to be rough," Snipes said. "It's still going to be rough."

Snipes promises the rough patch is not permanent. He is still unsure when the market will cool down, but in the meantime, he said this inflation is not the worst thing for the economy.

He said a consumer willing to spend is ultimately the best way to drive the dollar forward.

“It really is kind of an indicator that the economy is coming back," Snipes said.

WHAT IS THE PRICE OF PARADISE?
As Tampa Bay continues to attract new residents and businesses, the impact of living in paradise comes at a cost for all of us— from the increasing cost of housing and infrastructure to utilities and insurance. ABC Action News is committed to helping you and your family make the most of your money and navigate through the Price of Paradise.