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Cost of living keeps rising

Wasatch Front rates rose 1.1% in June, bank reports

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Prices keep rising along the Wasatch Front, according to a cost of living report released Wednesday by Wells Fargo bank.

June's overall 1.1 percent rise, which marked the sixth consecutive month of rising costs, was attributable to increases in utilities, clothing, recreation and education.

Of 10 categories measured, utilities showed the biggest increase, a 16.4 percent spike that was blamed on higher water prices.

"The heat, combined with a dry year, has really stressed the Wasatch Front water supply," said Kelly Matthews, Wells Fargo economist, in a news release.

Utilities were followed by clothing with a 0.7 percent increase, due in large part to higher prices on menswear.

Smaller increases were reported in recreation, education and communication, health care and housing costs, where rental prices were responsible for the 0.3 percent rise.

Prices fell for groceries and transportation, drops of 1.39 percent and 0.17 percent, respectively.

During the past six months, overall prices have increased 3.2 percent along the Wasatch Front.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that the national consumer price index climbed 0.2 percent in June, up 3.8 percent for the year.

The new reading on consumer prices matched analysts' expectations.

The "core" rate of inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, rose 0.3 percent in June compared with just 0.1 percent in May.

"It's a bit worrisome," said Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors. Inflation isn't out of control, but price pressures don't seem to be easing, he said.

Across the country, electricity prices jumped 3.8 percent, the largest increase on record, while natural gas prices dropped 5.6 percent, the largest decline to date. Gasoline prices also decreased 2.6 percent in June, while airline fares rose 5 percent.

Contributing: The Associated Press

E-MAIL: danderton@desnews.com