TAMPA, Fla — Inflation is on the rise across the country and the Tampa Bay area is no stranger.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor of Statistics, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area had the highest inflation in the country last month, with prices up 8 percent from last year.
People are paying more for things like fuel and groceries, but why? An economist at Florida Gulf Coast University says there are several reasons.
It centers around supply and demand. As COVID cases decrease, the number of people out and about benefiting our local economy increases.
"Tourism is back, the restaurants are bouncing back and so we’re starting to see some of that price pressure in Tampa simply because there’s more economic activity right now than there is in other places," Victor Claar, an economics professor at FGCU said.
Another Florida factor has to do with the number of people moving to the Tampa Bay area.
"Many people around the country are choosing to move to Florida," Claar added. With more people living in the Tampa Bay area, that means housing costs will increase, which we've seen.
"That means not only is there price pressure in the real estate market to buy, it also means there’s price pressure in the rental market as well," Claar stated.
One of the biggest expenses people have seen an increase in is gas. Claar said that's because, compared to last year, people are back to work and driving more.
"Prices are up and the percentages are up, but it’s sort of us getting back to normal and that gasoline and driving market," Claar said.
Claar explained when manufacturers catch up, we will get back to paying normal prices. When will that be?
"I really wish I can tell you it was going to be March 20 of 2022, but we can’t really do that. This just isn’t like anything we’ve ever seen before," Claar said.
Claar explained the best thing you can do is protect yourself and others from COVID while supporting your local economy.