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Economy & Business

Prices Up in Northeast, Larger Jump Nationwide

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The cost of consumer goods and services rose 0.5 percent last month in the northeast region, which includes Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and the New England states.  That compares to a 0.6 percent jump nationally.

"[Over the last 12 months] we saw an increase in prices in the northeast region of 1.7 percent," said Bureau of Labor Statistics spokeswoman Kara Markley.  "For the U.S. as a whole, the increase was 2 percent."

If you fill up your vehicle regularly, it will come as no surprise that the driving force behind the rise in consumer prices is the cost of gasoline.  "For the U.S., gasoline was up 4.1 percent," Markley said.  "For the northeast it was a very similar situation, the energy index increased 3.4 percent and the major factor was also gasoline, up 4.3 percent over the month."   Over the last 12 months, gasoline prices have surged 6.9 percent in the northeast region.

Markley added that while gasoline prices have garnered much of the attention, the cost of shelter, which includes rent, has been on the rise as well.  "Shelter prices actually increased 1.9 percent in the northeast over the year, and for the U.S. as a whole, shelter prices increased 2.2 percent and they were a major factor in the overall increases for both the northeast and the U.S."

The price tags for the other necessities--food, clothing and health care-- also rose last month.  Food was up 0.1 percent and medical care rose by 0.3 percent while apparel jumped 3.7 percent in the region in September.

However, Markley said the overall rate of inflation in the region has been consistent.  "Everyone likes to plan for their future and when prices are, you know what you can expect based upon what you've been seeing, I'd say that helps consumers plan their spending."