12 News – Phoenix Ranks No. 1 in the Nation for Inflation. Here’s Why:
Valley residents like Ashley Carey are finding a way to get by.
“To pay my rent for one bedroom,” she says, “it takes a whole paycheck from my regular job and then a paycheck from my part-time job.”
The soaring cost of a place to live is just one reason the Phoenix metro area owns the highest inflation rate among the nation’s metro areas, according to a new government report released Tuesday.
By one measure, the Valley’s 13 percent inflation rate over the last 12 months is the highest recorded for a city in 20 years. The national rate for August was 8.3 percent.
Less than two years ago, in December 2020, inflation was a non-issue in the Valley. Overall consumer prices were rising at an annual rate of 0.5 percent.
There’s a lot to fix
“These are unusual times and these are unusual conditions,” said Jim Rounds, an economist and policy analyst at Rounds Consulting. He has tracked the Arizona economy for 25 years.
“When the economy is in a mess, and there’s a lot to fix, it just takes longer to fix.”
Rounds said the Valley’s status as one of the fastest-growing places in the country becomes a weakness when supplies of food, gas and housing can’t keep up.
“We’re having problems with affordability across the entire country,” he said. “But Arizona and the greater Phoenix area are just unique in that we’re also high growth, and that puts extra strain on it.”