Wasatch Consumer Price Index takes slight dip in March

The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index decreased 0.1 percent from February to March on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

Year-over-year, the Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index has grown 2.6 percent, while the National Consumer Price Index has increased 2.4 percent since March of last year.

The decrease, ending a four-month streak of rises since last November, was due almost entirely to price fluctuations within the transportation sector, largely the result of a drop in prices for new and used automobiles. Housing and transportation remain the largest contributors to the year-over-year CPI growth, contributing to 45 percent and 31 percent of the overall CPI growth since March of last year, respectively.

The annualized inflation rate of 2.6 percent is a drop from previous months when the index has registered over 3 percent year-over-year.  This drop signals a return to levels nearer to the national rate.  It remains to be seen how pricing will be affected by rising interest rates and changing is U.S. trade policy going forward. 

In line with the Utah’s 2.6 percent year-over-year CPI inflation, MONEY magazine recently listed Utah as one of the top 10 states for real income, based off of residents’ purchasing power and median income.

“Utah continues to be one of the best places in the country to live and do business” said Scott Andersen, president of Zions Bank. “Utah’s healthy economic environment is a sign of the industry of its residents and their eye toward building for the future.”

Though transportation was the main factor in this month’s CPI decrease, food at home and clothing categories also contributed to this month’s price decrease:

  • Clothing prices decreased 1.3 percent from February mainly due to falling prices for children’s apparel
  • Food at home prices fell 1.1 percent from February due to price decreases for meat and poultry

Price increases in the housing and restaurant sectors nearly offset the decreases in the other sectors:

  • Full-service meals drove the majority of the 1.2 percent increase in food away from home prices
  • Housing prices increased 1.0 percent due to increases in furniture prices and hotel/motel rates

“Utah will continue to become more and more of a hub for both people and business as the quality of life statewide continues to increase,” said Randy Shumway, chairman and partner at Cicero Group. “People are attracted by both the state’s healthy business environment as well as it’s growing opportunities for recreation.”

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.