Riverside

Inland Empire Inflation Rate is the Highest in the Nation

An economist says one big factor is housing. Over the past year, the Inland Empire real estate market has skyrocketed, and so have prices.

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Shoppers Have Noticed Prices of Items Rising Steadily Over the Past Year. Tony Shin Reports Oct. 18, 2021.

The Inland Empire had the highest inflation rate in the country in September, according to recent labor statistics.

For those living in the Inland Empire, that's no surprise.

The annual inflation rate is 6.8% for Riverside and San Bernardino counties -- that is about four times higher than it was a year ago -- according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for September.

Shoppers in Fontana say they have noticed prices for a lot of items at their local grocery store have risen steadily over the past year or so.

"When you see the prices rise so quickly... it does kind of hurt a little bit," shopper Britney Martin said.

It really hurts people who are on a fixed income.

"I'm on social security so I have to be very frugal on what I buy, especially now prices have really gone up high," shopper Josephine Cipres said.

The 6.8% rate is also the highest amongst the 23 metropolitan areas in our nation.

"The inflation here was more severe. The question then is why?" said economist John Husing.

Husing said there are two main factors that are driving up inflation: one is transportation, including long distance commuters who are paying higher fuel prices.

"Specifically new car prices, existing car prices, and gasoline," Husing said.

Husing says the other big factor is housing. Over the past year, the Inland Empire real estate market has skyrocketed, and so have prices.

"The housing situation is not going to correct itself anytime soon, because even though our prices are up, they're still lower than the coastal counties by a great amount," Husing said.

So for now, people who are struggling to make ends meet will have to be a little more creative to get more bang for their buck.

"I don't just shop at one store -- I go where the coupons are," Cipres said.