The local inflation rate dipped to 4 percent year-over-year in June as gas and food prices slipped slightly in recent weeks, according to federal data released July 12.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the consumer price index for Los Angeles and Orange counties fell 0.2 percent in June to an index reading of 265 compared to May. With that slight drop, the year-over-year increase in prices was 4 percent in June compared to 4.1 percent in May. The national year-over-year inflation rate for June was 2.9 percent, the highest rate of change in six years.
In Los Angeles County, energy prices decreased 0.8 percent in June as oil prices slipped to $65 per barrel from May’s average of $70 per barrel and local refineries completed their switch to summer-blend gasoline. But energy prices were up 16 percent over the past 12 months, thanks to a 23 percent run-up in gasoline costs; one contributing factor was the statewide 12-cent-per-gallon rise in the gasoline tax last November to raise money to pay for road and highway maintenance. A measure to repeal that tax is on the November ballot.
Food prices also fell slightly in June, decreasing 0.4 percent from May levels. Over the past 12 months, food prices advanced 1.3 percent. Prices for food away from home increased 3.8 percent since a year ago, but prices for food at home decreased 0.9 percent.
Excluding often volatile food and energy prices, the local consumer price index fell 0.2 percent in June but was up 3.5 percent from a year ago.
The inflation index is calculated by comparing current prices for various consumer products to a three-year average from 1982-1984, which the agency assigned as the base period with a value of 100.
Before April, the last time the local year-over-year inflation rate topped 4 percent was in the summer of 2008 when it peaked at 5.7 percent, thanks to a spike in gasoline prices as the price for a barrel of oil briefly hit $145.
Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.