Consumer prices in the metropolitan area rose sharply in January compared with a year earlier, primarily because of higher residential rents.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday its consumer price index for the 25-county region that includes Long Island climbed 2.5% last month compared with January 2019. It was largest year-over-year increase in nearly three years.
Residential rents were up 3% last month compared with January 2019.
The cost of medical care jumped 4.4%, year over year.
Since households on average spend a third of their budgets on shelter, rents carry greater weight in the price index, said Martin Kohli, the bureau's chief regional economist.
Education services, including school tuition and day care fees, rose 3.4%. The cost of clothing was up 3%.
Grocery prices increased 0.7% last month compared with January 2019.
The cost of gasoline and automobile insurance was up 8.1% and 3.2%.
These increases were partially offset by declines in electricity and natural gas costs, which fell 1.7% and 5%, year over year.
Used care and truck prices were down 1.1%.