The cost of living for Wasatch Front residents took a 0.1 percent jump in December, following two months of declines, as costs of groceries, restaurant food and transportation all rose.
But local price hikes were still below the national increase in the consumer price index for December, reported Kelly K. Matthews, economist for First Security Bank. Nationally, consumer prices rose 4.4 percent, matching 1987's rate.In the bank's monthly Cost of Living Report, released Thursday in tandem with national figures, Matthews said the 0.1 percent increase in prices of 500 local services and commodities compared with a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.2 percent reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
On an annual basis, December's local rate of inflation would equal 1 percent, Matthews said.
Decreases in prices of clothing, health care and utilities were offset by increases in the prices paid for groceries, restaurant food and transportation, according to the report. During the past 10 months _ since First Security began tracking prices _ costs for Wasatch Front consumers have dropped 1.1 percent.
But costs for groceries were up 1.3 percent during the last month of 1988, reversing their November downward trend, with increases in meat, alcohol, produce and shelf items leading the way.
Grocery prices locally have increased 5.1 percent since last March, compared with the national 4.4 percent rise. For December, national grocery prices were up 0.3 percent.
For the second consecutive month, local costs of eating out increased in December, up 0.1 percent. Nationally, the increase was 0.3 percent. In the past 10 months, costs of eating out locally have dropped 0.2 percent.
December also saw a 1.1 percent rise in transportation costs _ compared with a 0.1 percent increase nationally _ following three straight months of price decreases in this category.
The First Security report blames higher costs for auto maintenance for the rise. For the 10 months, transportation costs locally are down 3.6 percent compared to a 3.7 percent increase nationally.
Clothing costs for Wasatch Front residents fell 3.1 percent in December, compared with a 1.6 percent drop nationally. For the 10 months, local clothing costs are down 4.0 percent.
Health care costs also were down in December, 0.6 percent compared with a 0.4 percent increase nationally. For the 10 months, health care costs locally are up 2.6 percent.
Local residential utility costs also dropped in December, registering a 0.4 percent decrease. Utility expenses have fallen 2.4 percent over the past 10 months, compared with a 5.2 percent increase nationally.