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California NewsUSA

Southern California inflation rate hits 3-year low in January – Orange County Register

“Swift swings” provides a quick overview of an economic trend.

The number: Inflation, measured by two bands of the Southern California Consumer Price Index, hit its lowest level in three years in January.

The source: My trusty spreadsheet looked at CPIs for Los Angeles and Orange counties, a monthly tally, and biweekly results for the Inland Empire.

Quick analysis: The average CPI rise for both regions was 2.7% in January, the lowest since January 2021. U.S. inflation last month was 3.1%.

This is lower than the 3.6% observed two months earlier or the average of 4.2% for 2023 and 8.2% in 2022.

For January, inflation stood at 2.5% in LA/OC and 2.9% in IE.

Slices

Look at two key categories of spending…

Grocery stores: Southern California saw an average increase of 1.6% in the year ending in January compared to 1.9% two months earlier, 4.6% on average for 2023 and 10.5% in 2022. Food at home inflation for January was 2.2% in LA/OC and 0.9% in IE.

To rent out: Up 6% year-over-year for January compared to 7% two months earlier, 8.3% on average for 2023 and 6.2% in 2022. By metro, up 4.6% in LA/OC and 7.4% in IE. Note: Many experts say this slow measure of housing costs doesn’t account for the more modest rent increases currently being imposed.

Warnings

Declining inflation rates have no impact on what consumers currently pay.

What cost $100 in January 2021 now costs $116 in LA/OC and $120 in IE.

Additionally, a federal wage indicator in Southern California shows that local private sector wages have increased 17% over the past three years.

Jonathan Lansner is the Southern California News Group’s business columnist. He can be contacted at jlansner@scng.com

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