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Springs living costs moderate in first quarter

By: WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com
June 11, 2013 Updated: June 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm
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Thanks to a sharp decline in gas prices compared with the rest of the country, the cost of living in Colorado Springs moved even lower compared with the national average for the first quarter of 2013, according to a national survey.

Local living costs were 4.9 percent below the national average in the January-to-March quarter, compared with 3.7 percent below the average for all of 2012. It's the best showing in a comparison with the national average since the end of 2011, according to the quarterly survey by the Council for Community and Economic Research.

"The area's cost of living looks to be very stable right now. That should help both the tourism industry, since gasoline prices have stabilized, but also potential employers, because it means lower costs for a well-educated and productive workforce," said Fred Crowley, senior economist for the Southern Colorado Economic Forum.

The survey found that costs for transportation and miscellaneous goods and services - which includes everything from fast food and beer to clothing and recreation - moved lower in Colorado Springs compared with the national average. A key reason is that gasoline costs in the area fell faster than in the rest of the nation during the first quarter. Costs for clothing, recreation and personal care items also fell.

Index components measuring the cost of groceries, housing and utilities in the area all moved closer to the national average during the first quarter. The area's health care costs remained unchanged, and is the only category where costs were higher than the national average.

The index doesn't measure inflation; it compares prices in more than 300 metropolitan areas for 57 goods and services bought by households where middle managers live. It's designed to help managers compare living costs when moving to another city.

Elsewhere in Colorado, living costs were 3.2 percent above the national average in Denver; while 6 percent below the averagein Grand Junction; and 16.6 percent below the average in Pueblo - the nation's third-lowest after Harlingen, Texas, and Idaho Falls, Idaho.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman

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