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Goodbye Inflation

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.

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"inflation has fallen for two consecutive months, the first such trend since the 1950s." "Inflation has fallen" implies a decrease in inflation, not necessarily negative inflation (deflation) which is what happened.

You're right. I'm not worried about deflation, but I can certainly word this more precisely. Check back in a few minutes and I'll repost. hjb

The calm before the storm

You definitely understand what you are referring to. Man, this weblog is truly fantastic! I cannot wait to browse more of what you have got to talk about. your article is interesting, thank you for sharing .

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About the author
You've got the job of managing your money. No one in school taught you how. But you and I, we can teach each other, how to handle it, how to save for retirement, how to make money last, how to educate the kids, how to make a budget work. The conversations I have with my readers are fun. Money's important, but discussing it does not have to be boring.

Harriet Johnson Brackey Harriet Johnson Brackey, the personal finance columnist for the Sun Sentinel, is an award-winning business reporter. Her columns for 2008 were named "The Best in the Business," a national award chosen by her colleagues at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Brackey has worked at Business Week magazine and at USA TODAY, where she was a founder and part of the original staff of the Money section at the country's first national newspaper. After nearly 11 years there - spent covering the 1980s bull market, the insider trading scandals, the 1987 crash - Brackey left Washington, D.C., and came to The Miami Herald. She spent the next decade writing a column about personal finance that chronicled the stock market's Internet boom and bust, as well as the popular Money Makeover features.

Brackey also has done commentaries for Marketplace Money, which airs on National Public Radio and The Nightly Business Report which is broadcast on more than 250 PBS television stations nationwide. She also has been a radio guest on WLRN’s Miami Herald News.
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