Inflation is hitting Seattle harder than most of the US

Jan 17, 2023, 5:19 PM
People shop at the Pioneer Supermarkets on January 12, 2023. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

If the rising costs have felt disproportionate for the cities surrounding Puget Sound compared to the rest of the United States, that’s because Seattle has the third-highest inflation in the nation, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index.

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“Well, according to Jake Vigdor, University of Washington professor of public policy and governance, the inflation we’re experiencing in Seattle is not a local problem, but a global one,” said Christine Clarridge, a Seattle-based reporter who broke the story for Axios. “Here in Seattle, we are particularly being impacted by our very high minimum wage, which I think is a little counterintuitive. So without enough people to fill jobs, employers keep having to raise their offering opening salary, and these are for entry-level jobs. And so when they’re having to pay more than $20 for jobs they used to be able to pay $15 an hour. They have to raise the prices somewhere.”

Clarridge tells KIRO Newsradio she expects the restaurant industry to have the most severe rise in costs, with childcare and healthcare also expecting significant jumps in prices.

“While some of our costs, like gas, are going down along with the rest of the country, we are offset by the places where we’re not going to be released,” Clarridge said.

This domino effect is causing the price of goods — like eggs, for example — housing and cars to be steadily climbing throughout the region.

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“I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t think other people do either,” Clarridge said regarding if the current prices are expected to go down anytime soon. “Although there is a lot of speculation, according to some of the experts I talk to, the higher interest rates are having an effect, and they predict that in the middle of 2023, we’ll see leveling or some things going down. But again, Seattle may be the outlier.”

Follow Micki Gamez on Twitter or email her here.

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Inflation is hitting Seattle harder than most of the US