Some prices are softening a little as inflation cools off in Denver area

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Gas prices topped $4 a gallon on Colorado Boulevard in Denver, Sept. 21, 2022.

Inflation is cooling off in Colorado and across the U.S. That means the cost of a lot of things, from eggs to used cars, is slackening slightly.

Prices in the metro area — which is the Colorado region tracked by the federal government and encompasses Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson, and Park counties — rose 2.7 percent in May from a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last May, prices in the region were up 3.7 percent. Inflation peaked at 9.5 percent roughly two years ago.

Slowing inflation means people may soon get a reprieve from high borrowing costs for things like cars and houses. Interest rates have been stuck at elevated levels as federal regulators try to tame inflation by making it more expensive to borrow money.

Notable trends from Denver’s data include: 

  • Gas prices are up since the last time the prices were measured two months ago. But that’s a typical seasonal pattern because people drive more in the summer. The cost of gas is 3 percent lower than at this time last year.
  • Certain items actually got a little cheaper at the supermarket. Prices for meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables and bakery products are lower than they were just a couple months ago, and lower than they were a year ago. Used car prices have been sliding for a while, and are now 9.5 percent lower compared to a year ago.
  • Some of the most crucial costs for Colorado households continue to get more expensive, albeit at a slower rate. That includes medical care, rent and education. The cost of eating out is still climbing, too. 

Overall, Colorado’s numbers are very promising, according to Richard Wobbekind, senior economist and faculty director at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business.

“An awful lot of people are focused on groceries and focused on fuel prices … Those are the two things they tend to think about first,” Wobbekind said. “The fact that both of those are in very solid territory at the moment should affect people’s psyche about where inflation is going. They should be a little bit more confident that inflation’s not running away, that they’re not going to get overwhelmed.”