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Report: Utahns paid less for many goods, services in December

Published January 17, 2014 8:40 am

Economy • Cost of goods dropped along the Wasatch Front as the holiday shopping season kicked in.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The price of goods along the Wasatch Front dropped slightly right as the holiday buying season launched last year thanks to falling gas prices.

The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index (CPI) decreased 0.2 percent from November to December on a non-seasonally-adjusted basis while the national CPI rose, it was announced Thursday.

At the end of last year, gas prices in the Wasatch Front dropped about 5 percent or 15 cents per gallon on average. Meanwhile, the price of housing including rent, hotel room rates and household appliances, dropped .3 percent from November to December.

"Once again, we saw gasoline prices fall across the state of Utah, giving Utahns a little extra discretionary income in the midst of the holiday spending season," Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO, said in a statement.

Nationally, gas prices rose, which helped push consumer prices up last month by the largest margin in six months, the Labor Department said Thursday. The national CPI increased 0.3 percent in December, compared with the previous month.

Transportation costs, which include the cost of new and used cars and airfare, fell for the sixth-straight month.

While housing and transportation prices declined, there was an increase in food prices — .6 percent — in large part because of the rising cost of produce.

The cost of eating out also went up — .8 percent — after various fast-food restaurants increased their prices. The cost for utilities went up .5 percent due to the increased price in propane. The price of clothing increased .8 percent due to rising prices in stores.

Other costs that rose from November to December include medical care (.2 percent), recreation including electronics and sporting goods (.2 percent), and education and communication such as college tuition and home Internet connectivity (.1 percent).

Analysis for the Zions Bank CPI is conducted by the research firm Cicero Group.

vince@sltrib.com

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