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Colorado's 5.3 percent inflation rate outpaces national average

© iStock - Khanchit Khirisutchalual
Joe Mueller

(The Center Square) – Colorado's inflation rate is slowing but still significantly outpaces the national rate, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state saw prices increase 0.43 percent in August and September, down from the 0.65 percent increase in June and July. The state’s 12-month inflation rate increased from 5.15 percent to 5.3 percent during August and September, much higher than the 12-month national inflation average of 3.7 percent.

“Colorado and Denver inflation continue to outpace national inflation, costing Colorado families thousands more each month than pre-pandemic spending,” an analysis of the data by the Common Sense Institute said. “In the last year, energy prices in particular have risen dramatically in Colorado while dropping nationally.”

A 2.2 percent increase in gasoline prices drove energy prices up 1.6 percent for the two-month period ending in September in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area, according to the BLS.

“From September 2022 to September 2023, household fuels and utility prices grew by 11 percent in the Denver (metropolitan statistical area), yet nationally, fuels and utility prices dropped 1.52 percent over this same time period,” the CSI analysis stated.

Food prices increased 0.6 percent for the two-month period, led by grocery prices rising 0.7 percent. Meats, poultry, fish and eggs increased 6.3 percent at the grocery store but were offset by a 2.5 percent decrease in cereals and bakery products and a 2.1 percent decline in dairy and related products.

Colorado restaurant prices increased 24 percent between November 2022 and June 2023, the largest increase in the nation during the period, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Colorado restaurant prices have decreased 0.56 percent since June.

“Between August and September, the average Colorado household spent an average of $2,434 more due to inflation, equal to $1,217 per month,” CSI said. “In September, the Federal Reserve held its key interest rate steady but signaled another hike is likely this year amidst high inflation.”

The average annual inflation rate was 2.51 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to CSI's analysis. Ten price categories grew by more than that inflation rate compared to three that grew by less. The two categories rising the fastest during the last 12 months were fuel and utilities (11 percent) and energy (8.6 percent).

Denver ranked 10th out of 23 metro state areas for total price growth since the end of 2020, according to the federal agency. The average Colorado household has spent $21,730 more since 2020 due to inflation.

Denver's metro area households spent an average of $84,293 per year in 2021-22, according to the BLS – 20 percent higher than the national average of $70,052. Housing accounted for 36.7 percent of the average household budget in Denver compared to the national average of 33.5 percent.