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NY-area consumer prices rise in September on higher housing costs

Consumer prices in the metropolitan area rose modestly in September compared with a year earlier on higher housing costs.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday its consumer price index for the 25-county region that includes Long Island climbed 1.9% last month compared with September 2019.

"Price increases for shelter drove the 12-month change," said Martin Kohli, the bureau’s chief regional economist, adding the cost of housing increased 1.6%, year over year.

While other spending categories rose by higher percentages, housing costs are given greater weight in the price index because housing represents a larger percentage of most consumers' budgets.

Grocery prices continued to rise in September but at a slower rate than during the height of the coronavirus pandemic when some commodities were in short supply.

The cost of food at home increased 3.7% last month compared with September 2019, with the largest rise in meats, poultry, fish and eggs, 5.6%; and nonalcoholic beverages, 4.3%.

Still, September’s year-over-year increase in the price index was the highest since March.

The cost of recreation rose 6.8% last month compared with September 2019. Medical care prices were up 3.6%.

The cost of automobiles and school fees climbed 5.8% and 2.7%, respectively, year over year.

Electricity prices increased 2.7% last month compared with September 2019.

These increases were partially offset by a 16.4% drop in gasoline prices, year over year. Also, the cost of natural gas was down 0.5%.

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