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Inflation: Bay Area Consumer Prices Rising At Fastest Rate Since 2001

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Around the Bay Area, prices are rising faster than they have in a generation, data released Thursday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.

"Prices have just been so high, they're just ridiculous," said Barbara Allen, a San Francisco resident outside her local grocery store.

The Consumer Price Index was up 5.2 percent in February compared with a year ago for the combined area consisting of San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties.

The last time prices rose that quick was in June 2001, when prices rose at a 6.6 percent pace, according to BLS data.

"It's not as if ... a hundred percent of the cost increases are going to the consumer. Grocers are doing everything they can to swallow up those costs," said Nate Rose, senior director of communications for the California Grocers Association.

Over the past two months, prices are up 1.4 percent. Prices for shelter and food drove overall prices higher, BLS data show.

Nationwide, consumer prices are up 7.9 percent over the past year, the quickest pace since January 1982. Prices in the western region of the U.S. were up 8.1 percent year-over-year in February.

"We haven't seen wages come up yet. That doesn't mean it won't happen, wages often times lag the rate of inflation," said Justin Rietz, a professor of economics at San Jose State University. "It's really across the board so we will see some items go up quicker than others."

Common items families depend on for meals each week have increased significantly from Feb. 2021 to Feb. 2022. Meat, poultry, fish and eggs went up 13 percent during that period, according to BLS data. Milk rose 11.2 percent and fresh fruit is now 10.6 percent more than it was a year ago

"I buy milk, eggs, every week and I see my spending going up week over week," said Rahul Sonwalkar, who lives in San Francisco. "I stopped eating out as much so I could get groceries week over week."

The price of coffee is up 10.9 percent, while crackers went up 12.7 percent and peanut butter is now 15.6 percent higher than Feb. 2021.

"I like chicken wings, I can't pay no 14 dollars for a bag of chicken wings," Allen told KPIX. "I shop less often, I don't get as much."

© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report

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