The cost of living for Wasatch Front residents rose 1.1 percent in October, reports First Security Corp., the fourth consecutive month of higher prices locally for a broad range of goods and services.

The local inflation rate compared with a non-seasonally adjusted increase of 0.6 percent nationally as reported Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Local decreases in the cost of health care and food were more than offset by hikes in clothing, housing and transportation, said Kelly K. Matthews, chief economist for the bank holding company. Cost of residential utilities was stable for the month.

The Wasatch Front Inflation Index - starting from a base of 100 in March 1988, when the monthly report was begun - was 106.8 in October. That compared with 114.1 nationally, when calculated from the same base month.

Here's how the various spending categories fare locally in October:

- GROCERIES - The cost of supermarket food declined 0.4 percent in October after two consecutive months of increases. The local decline compares with a 0.4 percent increase nationally for the month. During the past six months, local grocery costs have gone up 1.2 percent, slightly below the 1.8 percent increase nationwide.

Meat prices rose 0.6 percent in October, reversing September's trend. Shelf items had higher prices for the fifth month, up 1.8 percent in October. Bread was up 10.7 percent, egg prices rose 7.6 percent, peanut butter was up 6.5 percent and soft drinks rose 9.5 percent.

After two months of increases, produce prices were down 8.3 percent, led by lettuce, which dropped 19.6 percent. Potatoes were down 19.3 percent, the second month of price declines.

- HOUSING - Reversing its September trend, local housing expenses - based on rents - rose 2.3 percent last month. During the past six months, housing costs have increased 4.8 percent compared with a 2.9 percent increase nationally.

- RESTAURANT FOOD - The cost of eating out in Wasatch Front restaurants declined 0.3 percent in October. Nationally, prices increased 0.3 percent. Lower local prices were recorded for main dishes prepared with beef while prices for vegetables were higher. A 3.7 percent increase has been seen in local restaurant prices over the past six months.

- UTILITIES - Residential utility bills were stable for Wasatch Front residents last month. Electric bills have been mostly unchanged for the past seven months, while water rates were stable for the second month. During the past six months, local utility bills have increased 6.8 percent, compared with a 3.8 percent increase nationwide.

- CLOTHING - Clothing prices rose 3.9 percent locally in October, following a decrease in September.


Cost of living index

October 1990

Wasatch Front

Index Non-Seas. Adj.

Mar. 1988=100 6mos. Aug.


All Categories 106.8 6.3% 1.1%

Housing 105.9 4.8% 2.3%

Transportation 124.6 23.6% 3.1%

Health Care 107.4 0.1% -0.5%

Food At Home 116.6 1.2% -0.4%

Clothing 106.2 5.9% 3.9%

Food Away 105.4 3.7% -0.3%

Utilities 91.7 6.8% 0.0%

Other 103.6 2.6% 0.5%


Index Non-Seas. Adj. Seas. Adj.

Mar. 1988=100 6 mos. Aug. Aug.

All Categories 114.1 3.4% 0.6% 0.6%

Housing 111.5 2.9% 0.1% 0.3%

Transportation 116.5 7.1% 2.3% 2.1%

Health Care 121.5 4.5% 0.8% 0.8%

Food At Home 115.6 1.8% 0.4% 0.5%

Clothing 116.0 1.6% 1.3% -0.2%

Food Away 112.2 1.9% 0.3% 0.3%

Utilities 110.6 3.8% -0.5% 1.2%

Other 120.2 4.8% 0.4% 0.6%