The Cost of Living Index, from The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. This index includes more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items collected each quarter. The index measures the relative price levels in participating areas. The average for all participating places equals 100, and each area's index is a percentage of the average for all areas.
One of the index components measures the relative price of goods and services between areas. The majority of the areas included in the index, 56.5 percent, had goods and services prices below the national average in 2017. The remaining areas goods and services prices were well above the national average. The three Kansas metropolitan areas included in the index, averaged 5.1 percent below the national average when weighted by population.
The Consumer Price Index is used to calculate inflation, or the change in price of a basket of goods and services, as it impacts consumers; whereas, the Producer Price Index measures changes in selling prices, thereby expressing price changes from the perspective of the seller who produces a particular commodity.
A slide presentation updated with July 2018 data shows Midwest inflation rates decreased for large and small urban metro areas.
The Producer Price Index data shows that prices in the United States have increased from July 2017 to July 2018 for aircraft (1.4 percent) and petroleum (69.1 percent). During that same time period, the index decreased for slaughter livestock (-7.6 percent), sorghum (-8.8 percent), wheat (-11.9 percent), and natural gas (-6.7 percent).
From May 2018 to June 2018, the WSU Current and Leading Indices both declined.
The U.S. inflation rate increased from June to July 2018 while the Midwest rate declined over the same period.
The unemployment rate for Kansas, as a whole, increased slightly from June 2018 to July 2018. The state of Kansas, Wichita, Topeka, Lawrence, and Manhattan unemployment rates all increased.
Current Unemployment Rate
Persistence of the large number of local bank branches across the country--even in areas with expensive real estate and in the face of improving information technology--may be due to the fact that both depositors and small businesses continue to value local bank branches.