Report: Oahu Consumer Prices Rise Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Oct 17, 2020

Prices have risen for most goods and services on Oahu since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, a new federal report said.

The latest inflation report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated consumer prices for Honolulu have risen more than the national average this year, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

Honolulu’s consumer price index is up 1.9% over 12 months through September compared with 1.4% nationally, the bureau said in the report released Tuesday tracking 87 major metropolitan areas.

The Oahu increase was driven largely by the cost of food and beverages, which was up 7.8%, the report said.

Honolulu’s food cost increase included a 9.6% hike for food at home and 5.2% more for food away from home.

Other increases included 1.9% for housing, 4.1% for education and communication and 4.9% for recreation.

Prices decreased for three major necessities in the 12-month period. The price for electricity fell 11.3%, gas prices decreased 14.8% and the price for apparel decreased 5.0%.

A price change for medical care was not calculated.

The bureau said many of its price indexes are based on a smaller sampling, while price indexes for some items were not published because work to collect data through personal visits has been suspended since March. The bureau collected pricing data online or by phone for most goods and services.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.