The Delta wave of the coronavirus began to subside in the U.S. in late September, but congestion in the global supply chain linked to the pandemic continues to torment businesses and consumers. Wholesale orders for materials and finished goods are piling up, while cargo ships at key U.S. ports wait to unload the products they have due to labor shortages.
Meanwhile, consumer demand remains strong, and for many products, from breakfast cereal to new cars, it is outpacing supply — and this is leading to the highest inflation rate in over a decade. The consumer price index rose by 5.4% in September compared to a year earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (There are also regional differences in prices. This is what pizza costs in every state.
Despite strong demand for workers and fresh highs in the stock market, the White House is struggling to alleviate public worry about shortages and rising prices ahead of the holiday season. Public polls from Fox News, CNBC, and Gallup show declining approval of President Joe Biden and concerns over the health of the U.S. economy.
While price inflation for gasoline, electricity, and used vehicles backed away from summertime highs, price increases at the grocery store accelerated, led by a 10.5% jump in meat, poultry, fish, and eggs over the 12 months ending in September. Still, when looking at the long-term trend of two American breakfast staples, bacon and eggs, 2020 prices were not a complete anomaly.
Inflation-adjusted bacon prices, for example, trended higher in the decade or so after World War II, then subsided only to jump again during the inflationary period of the 1970s. Since the late 1990s, bacon prices have been generally inching upward. Egg prices, on the other hand, have been on a general downward trend since WWII. While not food, this is the cost of a computer every year since 1970.
To determine the cost of bacon and eggs the year you were born, 24/7 Wall St. adjusted the average price of a pound of sliced bacon and a dozen large grade A eggs in U.S. cities for every year from 1939 to 2020. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, bacon prices were adjusted using the annual consumer price index for bacon and related products; egg prices were adjusted using the consumer price index for eggs. Historical prices of bacon and eggs were adjusted for overall inflation using the annual consumer price index for all items.