Casper, Wy – The cost of living in Wyoming is going up faster than the national average. State Economist Justin Ballard says the average Wyoming consumer spent six percent more on their purchases in the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to the year before. Ballard blames the spike on the growing cost of food and transportation nationwide. But he says Wyoming is exceeding national trends because the energy boom also comes with rising housing prices. "People move into these areas and housing is one of the first categories to react to that. We see increases in rental rates in the mineral rich areas and that increases the cost of living."
Ballard says the six percent inflation rate is Wyoming's largest increase since the mineral boom of the early 1980s.