Food up, gas way down — see how NJ prices have moved
Would you believe that the overall price of the goods and services you're purchasing has actually declined?
The drop was minuscule from month to month, but consumers will take any break they can get.
According to the latest Consumer Price Index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices in the New York metropolitan area — which includes 12 New Jersey counties — fell by a tenth of a percent in March 2023 compared to the month prior.
But year over year, prices continue to trend noticeably higher. Over the last 12 months, prices increased 4.6% overall across common categories such as food, housing, apparel, and transportation.
Energy prices helped to keep annual inflation in check, the statistics show. Year over year, energy prices dropped 9%.
"Gasoline was down over the month and over the year," said Bruce Bergman, regional economist with BLS. "Also, household energy was down."
Gas prices in New Jersey have begun to inch up recently on a weekly basis.
Compared to March 2022, food prices in the region were up 8% last month. Prices for food away from home (at restaurants, for example) experienced a larger spike than the food you'd find at the supermarket.
Month to month, three food categories experienced slight declines in March 2023: fruits and vegetables; dairy products; and meats, poultry, fish, and eggs. Over the past 12 months, the price of cereal has spiked by more than 11%, according to BLS data.
Nationally, food at home recorded its first monthly price decline since September 2020, Bergman said.
Housing, including costs such as rent, is about 5% more expensive year over year, according to the latest figures. For the 15th straight month, the cost of shelter increased in the region.
The cost of apparel is up month over month and year over year, while the price of new and used vehicles is down significantly.