Consumer inflation has crossed 9% in metro Denver in March, the biggest annual jump in prices the region has experienced in 40 years, according to an update Tuesday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area rose 2% between January and March, pushing the annual consumer inflation rate to 9.1%, up from January’s 7.9% annual rate and ahead of the U.S. rate of 8.5%. A year ago, local inflation was running a tamer 1.6% in the region,
In February and March, Denver’s food index increased 0.8%, while the energy index advanced 15%, noted BLS Regional Commissioner Michael Hirniak in a release. For the year, food inflation is running at 9.1%, matching the overall rate, and energy costs are up 28.1%.
The cost of eating out is up by 10.2% over the past year, while grocery store prices are up 8.2%, including a 14.5% gain in the cost of meat and poultry and a 7.3% gain in cereals and baked goods. Rising costs are squeezing consumers and generating pushback against retailers, said Matt Pavich, senior director of retail innovation at Revionics, in an email.
Inflation has been on the march since spring of last year as demand outstripped supply in a recovering economy. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February sent oil prices spiking above $100 a barrel and has also resulted in higher prices for wheat, corn, barley, and other food commodities grown in that region, as well as fertilizers.