Steady increases in transportation prices propel Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index upward

The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index (CPI) ticked upward in June, rising 0.6 percent from the previous month.

Transportation prices had the largest impact on this month’s increase, while other sectors experienced either modest increases or slight drops. The national Consumer Price Index increased 0.1 percent from May to June and 1.6 percent from this time last year.

National gasoline prices are down to $2.26 from $2.32 a month ago, and state gasoline prices have decreased to $2.48 from $2.54 in the same time period.

Transportation prices drove the increase in the overall CPI from May to June as vehicle prices increased. Beginning every June, current year models (2017) are used in the calculation of the Consumer Price Index instead of the previous year’s models (2016), thus explaining the large increase in vehicle prices.  Prices for other goods and services increased 1.6 percent as prices for haircuts and women’s haircare increased slightly.

“Prices have remained relatively stable since last month” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. “Statewide price stability will allow consumers and business owners to make well-informed purchase and pricing decisions as we head into mid-summer.”

The rise in Utah’s overall CPI was also driven by higher prices in the following categories:

  • Food at home prices increased 1.1 percent as prices for meat, beef, and condiments increased heading into the summer holidays
  • Education and communication prices increased 0.9 percent as cell phone companies increased prices for unlimited talk, text, and data plans

Utah’s price increases were slightly offset by lower prices in the following sectors:

  • Housing prices fell 0.6 percent as rental rates for apartments decreased slightly
  • Utilities prices fell 0.1 percent due to slight decreases in propane prices
  • Prices for medical care fell 0.1 percent as dental cleaning and general pharmaceutical prices decreased over the month of June

“Statewide gas prices have decreased in the past month” sad Randy Shumway, chairman and partner at Cicero Group. “As consumers save more money at the pump, they will look to inject that savings elsewhere, further strengthening other sectors of the Utah economy.”

Analysis and data collection for the Zions Bank CPI and the Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index are provided by Cicero Group. a premier market research firm based in Salt Lake City.