Prices Continue to Surge: Here’s What’s Becoming More Expensive

With inflation running hot in October, American consumers paid slightly more for most goods and services compared to the previous month, and far more compared to a year ago.

The Labor Department’s consumer price index (CPI), a key inflation gauge that measures how much Americans pay for goods and services, rose 0.9 percent over the month in October and 6.2 percent over the year, with the annual figure reflecting the highest pace of price hikes in nearly 31 years.

The agency’s report (pdf), released Nov. 10, breaks down how much prices have increased for certain key services and goods, including gas, food prices, electricity, and used cars. Seasonally adjusted figures are only available for the month-over-month comparison, while seasonally unadjusted data is available in both over-the-year and over-the-month formats.

Gasoline: 49.6 percent year-over-year and 3.7 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 6.1 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Fuel oil: 59.1 percent year-over-year and 12.3 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 12.3 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Electricity: 6.5 percent year-over-year and minus 0.1 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 1.8 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Utility (piped) gas service: 28.1 percent year-over-year and 6.5 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 6.6 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Propane, kerosene, and firewood: 34.7 percent year-over-year and 7.9 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 6.2 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Food: 5.3 percent year-over-year and 1.0 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 0.9 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs: 11.9 percent year-over-year and 1.4 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 1.7 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Bacon and similar products: 20.2 percent year-over-year and 2.1 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 2.0 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Pork chops: 15.9 percent year-over-year and 5.0 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 5.0 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Uncooked beef steaks: 24.2 percent year-over-year and 1.9 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 1.7 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Peanut butter: 6.0 percent year-over-year and 3.3 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 3.3 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Coffee: 4.7 percent year-over-year and 1.7 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 2.8 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Restaurant prices: 5.3 percent year-over-year and 0.8 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 0.8 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Furniture and bedding: 12.0 percent year-over-year and 0.3 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 0.3 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Sporting goods: 8.7 percent year-over-year and 1.6 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 1.6 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Appliances: 6.6 percent year-over-year and minus 0.2 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; minus 0.1 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Used cars and trucks: 26.4 percent year-over-year and 1.4 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 2.5 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

New cars and trucks: 9.8 percent year-over-year and 2.6 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 1.4 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Motor vehicle maintenance and repair: 5.4 percent year-over-year and 1.5 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 1.5 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Delivery services: 7.5 percent year-over-year and 0.4 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 0.7 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Rent: 2.7 percent year-over-year and 0.5 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 0.4 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

Lodging away from home: 22.3 percent year-over-year and minus 3.2 percent month-over-month seasonally unadjusted; 1.4 percent month-over-month, seasonally adjusted

The Labor Department’s consumer price data release followed a separate government report a day prior showing that producer prices rose in the 12 months through October at 8.6 percent, matching the September rate, which was the highest since 2008.

The producer price inflation data added to concerns about consumer price inflation as higher production costs tend to trickle down to consumers.

Analysts at ING said in a recent note that the extent to which elevated producer costs will ultimately get passed on to consumers depends partly on whether businesses will be willing to squeeze margins to maintain volumes.

But that becomes less likely the longer the supply chain bottlenecks persist, the ING team argued, “which means that we expect goods inflation to further increase over the coming months and to remain elevated throughout the first half of the year as pipeline pressures remain fierce.”

With prices running high and little sign of immediate relief, consumer expectations for what the rate of inflation will be in the future have surged to all-time highs.

The New York Fed’s most recent consumer inflation expectations survey showed that short-term (one year ahead) inflation expectations rose in October to 5.7 percent, the highest reading in the history of the series. The medium-term (three years ahead) inflation expectations remained unchanged from the prior month’s level of 4.2 percent, which was a record high.

“Inflation concerns are weighing on consumer confidence, and with an annual rate of north of 6 percent, this will only continue,” Bankrate Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement, while predicting that supply chain bottlenecks “will be with us well into 2022, and with that, upward pressure on prices.”

“Consumers are feeling it in the pocketbook at the gas pump, grocery store and tenants in many parts of the country could get sticker shock at their next lease renewal,” he added.

Biden administration officials and Fed policymakers have repeatedly said that the current inflationary bout is temporary and will abate once pandemic-related supply-side bottlenecks get ironed out.

From The Epoch Times