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Chris Detrick | Salt Lake Tribune Diners eat at Cafe Trio-Cottonwood. The cost of dining out dipped slightly, bringing the Consumer Price Index along the Wasatch Front down slightly.
Prices dipped slightly last month along Wasatch Front
Economy » Overall transportation costs also drop, despite rise in gasoline prices.
First Published Feb 20 2014 11:02 am • Last Updated Feb 20 2014 05:21 pm

The cost of buying goods dipped slightly along the Wasatch Front from December to January, in large part because the cost of eating out has dropped in the last month.

The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index (CPI) decreased 0.1 percent from December to January on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. While prices dipped in the last month, they increased 1.8 percent in the last year, according to the monthly report. By comparison, the CPI for the entire U.S. dropped .4 percent from December to January. Analysis and data collection for the Zions Bank CPI is conducted by The Cicero Group.

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The prices of groceries increased .7 percent, largely because of a sharp increase in the cost of produce and beef. But the cost of eating out dropped 1 percent due to the drop of prices at various full-price restaurants, according to the report.

Housing prices remained unchanged, and the cost of utilities dropped by only .1 percent from the slight decrease in the prices of residential propane. The prices for clothing at stores jumped .4 percent while transportation costs dropped .2 percent despite rising prices at the gas pumps in the last couple of months. This was the seventh-straight month of decreases in the transportation category, which include paying for new and used vehicles, gasoline and airfare.

"For the first time in several months, gasoline prices inched higher," said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO. "But that alone is not cause for concern, as gasoline prices generally increase in the spring months. What is important is that we do not see a sharp and abrupt spike in prices, and thankfully early reports indicate that this year’s expected increase will be slow and steady."

An increase in the price of prescription drugs accounted for a slight .2 percent increase in medical care costs, and recreation prices — which include electronics, sporting goods, club fees and pet products — rose .4 percent along the Wasatch Front due to the rising cost of pet care and products.

Education and communication prices — which include college tuition, personal computers, Internet and telephone — fell .6 percent largely from the falling prices of cellphone plans.

vince@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ohmytech




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