MILWAUKEE — Soaring inflation continues to challenge businesses and residents from spikes in the price of housing to groceries - not only in Milwaukee but nationwide.
Despite easing gas prices during the end of summer, new data is showing how taxing inflation was in the second quarter. According to our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal, "the latest Cost of Living Index data from the Council for Community and Economic Research shows the average cost of living increased 11% between the first quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2022 in the 208 urban areas included in the report." The index looks at the cost of living for professional and executive households.
Here in Milwaukee, the average total cost of living was $3,209 in the second quarter, which is up 2% from $3,141 in 2021, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports. Data for Milwaukee's second quarter of 2019 was unavailable, but for the full year, the area's average cost of living was $2,862.
The average cost of living nationwide for the second quarter saw a 7% increase from a year ago at $3,116. It was also up 11% from 2019. The Associated Press reports rental costs nationwide jumped 6.7% in August from a year earlier, which is the most since 1986. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, the average Milwaukee-area rent for a two-bedroom apartment has risen from $1,250 in 2019 to $1,476 in the second quarter of 2022.
As for groceries, the cost of the 26-item grocery basket tracked by the index increased 11% nationwide last quarter compared with the second quarter of 2021. In metro Milwaukee, it increased 9% last quarter to $100 compared with $91 in the same period of 2021. According to the Associated Press, grocery prices jumped 0.7% from July to August this year. In the past year, they have risen 13.5% , which is the biggest 12-month increase since 1979. In the past year, chicken prices nationwide have risen 17% and egg prices jumped 2.9% in August from July, and is up 40% from a year ago, the Associated Press reports.
Consumer prices have also risen 8.3% from a year earlier and 0.1% from July.
"Fueled by high rents, medical care and new cars, core prices leaped 6.3% for the year ending in August and 0.6% from July to August," the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Also reported Tuesday, Wall Street had its worst day since June 2020, falling 5.2% as the Dow dropped more than 1,250 points.