Despite hefty price increases for gasoline and shelter, Seattle-area inflation moderated last month, mainly due to falling prices for household...

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Despite hefty price increases for gasoline and shelter, Seattle-area inflation moderated last month, mainly due to falling prices for household electricity and natural gas.

Overall prices were 3.4 percent higher this April than in April 2007, according to data released Wednesday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was down sharply from the 4.7 percent year-over-year increase reported in February (the BLS measures Seattle-area inflation every other month).

The local inflation compared favorably to the national 12-month rate of 3.9 percent, and April was the first month since June 2006 in which local inflation came in below the U.S. figure.

Both the local and national figures cited here are not adjusted for seasonal variations.

Seattle-area gasoline prices jumped 3.3 percent in April and stood 15.2 percent higher than a year ago.

Believe it or not, that was better than the nation as a whole: 5.6 percent for the month and 20.7 percent for the past 12 months. (However, gas in Seattle tends to cost more than average even in the best of times.)

The region covered by the local figures takes in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Island and Thurston counties.

Grocery prices in the region rose 1.6 percent in April, a bit faster than the 1.3 percent increase nationally. Over the past 12 months, grocery prices rose 5.5 percent locally, 5.9 percent nationally.

Area rents rose 0.4 percent in April and 8.6 percent over the past year.

Owner’s equivalent rent, a proxy for home prices, was up 0.5 percent last month and 6.8 percent since April 2007.

However, according to the BLS data, it cost area residents 12 percent less to supply their homes and apartments with natural gas than a year ago, and 3.7 percent less for electricity.

Prices for household furnishings fell 6.4 percent since April 2007, and clothing prices fell 3.5 percent.

Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or ddesilver@seattletimes.com