After months during which the U.S. economy was under siege by inflation, the December consumer price index fell 0.1% from November. The number seems small, but it is the largest drop since April 2020. The year-over-year increase was 6.5%, the lowest since October 2021. Make no mistake, however, inflation is not going away, and in some cases, the prices of items continue to surge.
Of particular note is the price of food at elementary and secondary schools, which soared over 305% in December 2022 compared to December the previous year. Similarly, food at employee sites and schools shot up nearly 130%.
While these may not be everyday items for many Americans, some of the items with the sharpest price increases are staples of everyday life — which means many Americans will not feel they have gotten much relief. The price of eggs rose 60% compared to December 2021, though this is partly due to an avian flu outbreak. The price of butter and margarine rose by over 30%. Lettuce was up 25%. Gas used for heating homes was up over 20%.
How people are affected by inflation relates to how much they spend in their daily lives and on what. Food prices, in particular, are not dropping, which is critical to the household budgets of millions of people. (These are the 50 cities with huge populations living on food stamps.)
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has raised rates aggressively in an attempt to curb rising prices. This, in turn, has increased mortgage rates from about 3% a year ago to 6% currently. That difference can add hundreds of dollars a month to mortgage payments. Loans in general have cost consumers more over the last year. (Also see, states where inflation is causing the most stress.)
Will inflation drop back to 2% year over year, which is close to what it was for the decade before 2022? Almost certainly not. However, the relief has begun, and could last well into this year.
To determine the 40 household items that are soaring in price, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index Summary December report. Prices are compared to December 2021.
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