5 graphs show the impact of inflation on prices in San Antonio and Texas

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Inflation is on the rise across the country and Texas has not been spared from rising prices.

Economic experts say it is the worst national inflation crisis since the early 1980s.

Although inflation rates have recently been exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine, federal data shows that prices rose long before that.

Here are five charts that show how prices are doing in San Antonio and Texas, and how the Federal Reserve is reacting.

Consumer price index

The Consumer Price Index, produced by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, measures the average price that consumers pay for goods and services. The main categories taken into account are housing, clothing, transport, education, leisure and medical care.

Data shows that inflation has been rising steadily since May 2020, the last time a decline was reported in the CPI.

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But what started as a slow increase has quickly accelerated in recent months.

In the southern region of the United States, which includes Texas, the February consumer price index rose 8.4% from a year earlier, the highest in decades. Nationally, the CPI rose 7.9%, the largest 12-month change since the period ending in August 1982, according to the US BLS.

According to the bureau, the largest contributions to CPI growth came from gasoline, housing and food.

Gasoline

One of the most visible signs of inflation has come at the gas pump.

The United States Energy Information Administration monitors retail gasoline prices in each state.

In May 2020, gasoline prices in Texas were $1.51 per gallon. In February 2022, the average price in Texas was $3.17, an increase of 110%.

These figures do not take into account more recent gas prices – which soared after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In Bexar County, the average gasoline price as of March 17 hovered around $3.92 per gallon. In Texas, the average gas price was $3.95 per gallon. In the country, the average gas price was $4.28 per gallon, according to AAA.

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Check the latest gas prices here.

Lodging

Home prices have been rising for years, and it’s only gotten worse since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

One metric considered by real estate experts is the median home sale price – which is the statistical midpoint that separates the top half of home sales from the bottom half.

In January 2020, before the pandemic began, the median sale of a home in Bexar County was $211,175, according to data from Redfin.

This value has steadily increased since then. Last February, the median sale price in Bexar County was $289,125, a 37% increase over the past two years.

Likewise, tenants have also seen their rents increase.

Across the San Antonio area, the median rent price has increased an average of 17.6% over the past year, according to data from RentHub.

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Food

Many people have also experienced financial hardship in grocery stores and restaurants.

According to the Consumer Price Index, food prices increased by a total of 7.4% between February 2021 and February 2022 in the southern region of the United States. Grocery items increased by 7.9%, while out-of-home food increased by 6.7%.

Prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs rose the most in the food index over the past year, rising 12.7%.

Food price index in the southern region of the United States in February 2022. (US BLS)

Federal Response

The Federal Reserve has recently acted in an effort to curb inflation.

On Wednesday, it announced a quarter-point increase in short-term interest rates. The agency also plans to institute up to six more rate hikes this year, according to The Associated Press.

This means that lending rates will be higher for consumers and businesses, but experts say the move is necessary to reduce inflation.

“We are acutely aware of the need to restore price stability,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said. “In fact, it’s a prerequisite for achieving the kind of labor market we want. You cannot have maximum employment for an extended period without price stability.

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