Compared with just one month ago, consumers are paying slightly more for most goods and services. Compared with a year ago, however, they’re paying significantly more, according to Labor Department data released this week.
The Labor Department reported that the consumer price index, a key inflation gauge that measures how much Americans pay for goods and services, rose about 0.4 percent in September. The year-over-year prices increased 5.4 percent, which some noted is the largest yearly increase since January 1991.
The agency’s report (pdf), released Wednesday, breaks down how much prices have increased for certain key services and goods, including gas, food prices, electricity, and used cars:
Gas: 42.1 percent
Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs: 10.5 percent
Propane, kerosene, and firewood: 27.6 percent
Fuel oil: 42.6 percent
Electricity: 5.2 percent
Peanut butter: 6.2 percent
Coffee: 4.0 percent
Bacon and similar products: 19.3 percent
Uncooked beef steaks: 22.1 percent
Furniture: 11.2 percent
Used cars and trucks: 24.4 percent
New cars and trucks: 8.4 percent
Rental cars: 42.9 percent
Footwear: 6.5 percent
Motor vehicle maintenance and repair: 4.0 percent
Postage and delivery services: 3.2 percent
Haircuts and other personal care services: 5.0 percent
Sporting goods: 7.5 percent
Appliances: 7.1 percent
Restaurant prices: 4.7 percent
Rent. 2.9 percent
While some economists, including those at the Federal Reserve, have stressed that the current inflation surge is transitory, prices have continued to rise. According to Labor Department data, wages only increased by 4.6 percent compared to the previous year, meaning that inflation is outpacing wage growth.
Analysts have blamed a combination of factors for the spike in inflation, including supply chain disruptions and bottlenecks, energy shortages in the Asia-Pacific and Europe, and COVID-19-related concerns and vaccine mandates.
Queen’s College President and economist Mohamed El-Erian, in an interview on Oct. 11, said he believes inflation is going to become “more and more of an issue for markets” and that it will “separate winners and losers in a significant way.”