Consumer prices in South Florida fell by the largest amount in 31 years in April.
Inflation declined at a 0.3 percent annual rate in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area for the year ending in April the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The decline was the largest ever in the history of the local consumer price index, which was first released in November, 1978.
The only other time prices in South Florida went down, the BLS said, was in 1986, at an annual rate of 0.1 percent.
Nationwide, consumer prices were essentially flat in April. Over the last year, the consumer price index has fallen 0.7 percent, the largest one-year decline since June, 1957. Nationwide, the annual inflation rate has been negative for two consecutive months, the first such trend since the 1950s.
Inflation essentially has disappeared from South Florida’s economy, in contrast to last year, when prices were growing at annual rates of 4.9 percent to 5.8 percent. South Florida’s annual inflation rate’s recent peak was a 6.1 percent at the start of 2006.
Driving prices down were declining gasoline prices. “Transportation costs, year-over-year, fell by 12.2 percent,” said BLS Economist Stephen Rondone.
But not all prices went down. The category of “other goods and services” in Miami was up 5 percent, primarily because of rising tobacco prices and the cost of other personal care products and services.
Other cities saw even greater declines in consumer prices. The BLS said its measure of inflation fell 3.5 percent on an annual basis in Atlanta, 2.2 percent in Chicago and 1.3 percent in Los Angeles.
The BLS reports a national inflation figure every month. Six times a year, it reports a local figure for the Miami metro area and nine other major cities. The BLS does not measure consumer prices in Palm Beach County.