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Tampa Bay inflation remains in double-digits in July

Only city in the nation with double-digit inflation
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Posted at 1:22 PM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 19:07:20-04

TAMPA, Fla. — While much of the nation saw a break in inflation in July, only one metro area in the nation maintained a double-digit inflation rate...the Tampa, Florida.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation in Tampa Bay settled at 11.2 percent in July, an increase of 1.3 percent from May 2022. Bloomberg News first reported on the double-digit inflation increase.

Anna Deshommes and Melissa Santiago are feeling the pinch many of us are feeling.

"Inflation got me pretty good," said Deshommes.

"Not even working two full time jobs. It's pretty hard out here, even grocery wise, and all that, even clothes. Everything is hard," Santiago added.

Economists said the sweet spot for inflation is between 2.5 and 4%.

Looking deeper into the numbers shows almost every area of the Tampa Bay area economy saw prices jump by double-digits in July. Some of the largest spikes in prices included rent, food, and housing.

"Everything is so expensive. Studios are like $1600. That is killing me. Oh my gosh, I'm staying with my parents right now because I can't find nothing. It's terrible," Deshommes said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said food prices increased 7.7 percent overall in July, while prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, rose by 12.2 percent year-over-year in July.

Housing costs increased by 13.6 overall while rent of "primary residence" jumped 14.9 percent. Household energy costs rose 20 percent in July, and prices for household furnishings and operations jumped 13.3 percent.

The BLS found that month-over-month prices showed all types of gasoline dropped 10.9 percent from June. Still, that small drop in fuel prices doesn't do much to chip away at the 42.7 percent overall rise in gas prices from July 2021.

"Yesterday, I put $10 in the tank. I remember $20 would fill it up. That $10 didn't even move the needle," said Deshommes.

If you were looking for areas of the local economy that performed well in the last month: education and communication (down 0.5%), fruits and vegetables (down 0.2%), and alcoholic beverages (up 1.0%).

President of Florida Economic Advisors Chris Jones said we're going to continue to see the price of just about everything go up. Right now, we're in stagflation.

"It reduces individual standards of living. When you've got to spend more for housing, when you've got to spend more for gasoline, when you got to spend more for food, it means your dollar doesn't go as far," said Jones.

But one thing people aren't seeing rise enough; wages.

"It went up with everything else. So it's kind of like nothing really changed. Like, as soon as we got a raise. So gas went up, groceries went up. So I'm like, Okay, it's like, I'm still making the same amount. Nothing's really changed," said Deshommes.

Jones said that's one of two reasons Tampa Bay continues to see inflation rise.

"Where we've seen the most dramatic increase over the last couple of years is in these housing prices, whether they be for sale, whether they be rental prices. But wages in this particular market are not keeping pace," he said.

Groups like Chispa Florida are stepping in. On August 13th, the group is inviting people to Tampa Bay Spanish Adventist Church. They'll give out baby formula, food, and other resources to aid.

"We're talking about housing, weatherization, energy efficiency, air quality, I'm implementing a proposal to have electric buses through the school board," he said. "We're working to empower our communities, the communities that we work in, and letting them know that there are resources available so that they can sort of go through their day to day without feeling the hurt as much as everyone else is feeling right now."

Getulio Gonzalez-Mulattieri said he supports the Inflation Reduction Act in Congress, hoping it'll provide relief.

"The best aspect of it would come from the climate provisions, because of the jobs that were created."

But Jones said it could do more harm than good.

"Sometimes the best thing government can do is leave the economy alone and to its best devices to self correct.

Jones says inflation will return to normal, but it'll take at least a year. That'll happen when demand for goods drops naturally.