Inflation rates remain high in Seattle, especially food costs

May 11, 2023, 1:52 PM

café streets, outdoor dining...

An outdoor dining set-up at a restaurant in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood. (MyNorthwest photo)

(MyNorthwest photo)

In the greater Seattle area, the consumer price index increased 6.9% last month compared to the year before, with Seattle remaining on the top of the list of places slow to recover from rampant inflation.

Seattle had the third-highest inflation in the nation back in January, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index, and while rates have gone down, they are still slower to recover than the national average.

Inflation is hitting Seattle harder than most of the US

“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, an Axios reporter. “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 salaries, 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.”

Energy prices didn’t change much over the year, but in the past two months, they’ve increased 4% due to higher gas 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.

Costs for food have increased 8% more than last year, but in the past two months, the cost of groceries actually decreased by 0.8%. Prices for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs dropped 4.3%. Eating out at restaurants is costing 1.7% more than it did a couple of months ago.

Clarridge told 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.

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The consumer price index increased 4.9% in April compared to 2022.

Regarding if the current prices are expected to go down anytime soon, Clarridge said “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.”

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Inflation rates remain high in Seattle, especially food costs