Bay Area inflation is busting budgets

Nationwide, the inflation rate rose at its fastest pace in 31 years, chipping away as spending power from coast to coast. But what's the Bay Area impact? 

Here's what the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says about the nine Bay Area counties and outer environs. 

Every day inflation rages on, we all take a tiny pay cut, which eventually adds up to a big one. Overall Bay Area inflation, which stood at a scant one percent in October of 2020, was 3.8 percent last October. 

That brings real wallet woes. "Well, very much so since I'm on a fixed income. Yes," said Jeff Cherniss of Berkeley. Well, of course it's affecting us. We're coming out of the pandemic. So, work is scarce and savings have been depleted to a certain extent," said Michael Webber of Emeryville.

Inflation can be more or less depending on what you're buying. Here's some examples.  I just refilled my car up with gasoline. Cost: just over $60. A year ago, I would have paid $25 less. Then, I went over to the local Safeway. There I bought two l bags of groceries. The cost was about $46. A year ago, it would have been $3.25 cents less.

Overall, price increases have been brutal:

  • Gasoline: up 40.2%
  • Used cars: up 25.6%
  • Natural Gas: up 21.7%
  • Electricity: up  9.1%
  • Food at home: 7.1%

It's getting tougher for families. "All the staples stuff, I think, has gone up. I think people are feeling it in their pockets by, probably a family over a hundred dollars a month," said Nadene Carroll of Petaluma.

Then there's "shrinkflation," which is more common than you think. Some food companies, potato chip makers, for example, will take some of the chips out, change the weight on the bag, but leave the price the same: shrinkflation. 

It all keeps adding up. 

"Yeah. My sandwich is nine dollars and my chips are two dollars. That's eleven dollars for a little bit of lunch. So, there you have it," said Tralee Johnson of Emeryville.

And, because of all those increases, the real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased across the nation 0.5 percent from September to October.