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Housing costs drive up consumer prices in the metro area in October

"A 1.6-percent increase for shelter drove the 12-month change" in the consumer price index, said Martin Kohli, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics's chief regional economist. Credit: AP/Steven Senne

Consumer prices in the metropolitan area edged up in October compared with a year earlier on higher housing costs.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday its consumer price index for the 25-county region that includes Long Island climbed 1.7% last month compared with October 2019.

"A 1.6-percent increase for shelter drove the 12-month change" in the index, said Martin Kohli, the bureau’s chief regional economist.

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 rose 2.9% in October compared with a year ago. The largest increases were in the meats, poultry, fish and eggs category, up 3.9%, and in dairy products, up 3.8%.

The cost of restaurant meals rose 4.8% last month compared with October 2019.

Electricity prices climbed 4.4% year over year while the cost of used automobiles was up 12%.

These increases were partially offset by a 16.1% drop in gasoline prices, year over year. Also, the cost of clothing and natural gas was down 4% and 3.9%, respectively.

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