Hattiesburg Least Affected in State by Inflation

October 24, 2016

Story originally posted by Hattiesburg American

According to a recent financial study, a dollar stretches just a little more in Hattiesburg than it does throughout the rest of Mississippi.

The study, which was conducted by SmartAsset – a New York financial tech company that offers automated advice on a range of finance decisions from home buying to retirement, shows Hattiesburg is the city in the state least affected by inflation. The Hub City was followed in the study by Jackson and Tupelo.

“We’re a personal finance technology company that helps provide people with advice on big financial decisions, and our goal is to get people talking about these topics,” said Steve Sabato, senior public relations associate at SmartAsset. “According to our study, people in Hattiesburg are losing less of their paycheck to inflation than folks in other metro areas in Mississippi.”

In conducting the study, SmartAsset officials looked at the change in both cost of living and income over a 10-year period in major metro areas.

To determine the cost of living, the price of certain goods – including items such milk, shampoo and rent costs – was determined for the years 2005 and 2015. The average per capita personal income for each city also was calculated for those years.

To calculate purchasing power – and how far money goes in each city – SmartAsset officials divided the average per capita income by the cost of living in each city for both 2005 and 2015.

According to the study, Hattiesburg has seen a 21.82 percent change in purchasing power, 0.4 percent change in average cost of living and 2.4 percent average change in personal income, with a 65.74 inflation index. Jackson, the second-ranked city in the study, saw a 13.59 percent change in purchasing power, 1.28 percent change in average cost of living and 2.58 percent average change in personal income, with a 53.66 inflation index.

“Greater Hattiesburg is fortunate to be a region among the nation’s least affected by inflation mainly due to the stability of our diverse economy, which leads to greater income stability and stronger consumer good pricing stability,” said Todd Jackson, business development director at the Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg. “We are blessed to live in a region that has many diverse economic sectors, such as healthcare, education, military and even manufacturing, which all provide stable competitive-wage jobs, leading to stable income for our friends and families.”

Jackson said ADP officials each quarter perform a cost-of-living survey that tracks the prices of a wide range of consumer goods in the local market.

“What we’ve seen from this data is a stable cost of living that is approximately 15 percent lower than the national average,” he said. “This means that $100 in other average areas of the country would actually be worth about $115 here in Hattiesburg.

“Not only are our consumer goods lower here in the greater Hattiesburg region, but our housing costs are approximately 30 percent lower than the national average. When you combine a diverse economy’s strong employment with a lower cost of living, this becomes yet another attractive attribute of living and investing in the Hattiesburg market.”