HSU Students Find Eureka’s Inflation Rate
This work ends a long dependence on inflation rate information drawn from out of the area.
“Every year students choose a capstone project as a way of giving back to the community,” says HSU Department of Economics Chair Steve Hackett. “The Eureka Consumer Price Index has been a capstone project since 2013. This year we added the inflation rate calculation, which is the first time in my memory that such information has ever been provided to our community.”
The student-led research team, which included Luis Ceballos, team leader, Eric Diaz, and Connor Hoffman, gathered local price information on over 200 consumer goods during Fall 2015 and Spring 2016, linked those with past price data from earlier teams, and used Bureau of Labor Statistics methods to calculate a local CPI inflation rate. They also included local inflation information on CPI sectors including food and beverages, housing, apparel, and healthcare.
According to the study, the inflation rate for Eureka in the last 12 months is 2.35 percent, closely matching the U.S. CPI. The “core” inflation rate for Eureka (which excludes food and energy costs) fell slightly 0.27 percent in the most recent year. Core inflation for the U.S. as a whole increased by approximately 1 percent during the same period.
“I am often called with questions about our local inflation rate,” says Hackett. “As an economist, I am pleased that we now have local inflation information that can be of use to the community.”
Delo Frietas, assistant planner for the City of Eureka Development Services Department, was among the first people to get the news.
“The inflation rate data is important,” she says. “We are collecting data now to see how we compare to other cities in providing the best quality of life for our residents.”
This year’s expanded Eureka CPI study was funded by the Dr. Ted Ruprecht Research Assistantship Program, which is supported by donations from alumni and friends of the Economics Department.
The Economics Department hopes to update the Eureka CPI annually as an ongoing student project. The Humboldt State University Economics Department website has a pdf of the study.
Another project conducted by the Department of Economics for the community is the Humboldt Economic Index. It provides the only monthly source of broad-based economic indicators for Humboldt County. Each month since January 1994 the Index has tracked six sectors of the Humboldt County economy (employment, energy consumption, home sales, lumber manufacturing, occupancy rates at hotels/motels/inns, and retail sales). A seventh sector, manufacturing, was added in 2016.
Retail sales, building permit issuances, unemployment claims, and more are tracked. The Index is a unique collaborative effort involving
participation and sponsorship from local businesses, state and county agencies, and non-government organizations. The Index is published on the fifth day of each month.