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Inflation: highest level since 1990, local experts react

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 7:19 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Consumer prices soared 6.2% in October; the highest inflation rate since 1990. So, where are people feeling the pinch in prices most?

It’s been a hard time for consumers as the price of pretty much everything has increased, but it’s really hurting our pockets when it’s time to go to the grocery store.

It’s the highest inflation rate U.S. consumers have seen in more than 30 years.

Experts said supply chain shortages caused by the pandemic are to blame.

“And so, that ripple effect right now is showing up in higher prices and the trouble is it’s showing up in places that really hurt like the grocery store,” said Professor & Chair of UAB’s Collat School of Business, Dr. Stephanie Yates.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics agrees. The average pre-pandemic cost of toilet paper has grown from $7.31 to $8.23. Eggs that were $1.35 a dozen last year will now cost you $0.48 more at $1.83. In September of last year, the average price of ground beef was $4.08 a pound. Fast forward a year, and the price is now $4.50 a pound. That’s a 10.5% increase.

“I can’t not eat. So, you know…I can maybe wait on buying the refrigerator, but I can’t wait on dinner. We typically anticipate inflation at a level of 3% per year. You know…that’s average. So, 6% is double what we normally see. So, you know that’s going to have an impact on our everyday expenditures,” Dr. Yates explained.

Dr. Yates said there is a chance to relieve inflation if we all identify just what we need.

“If we can be a little bit more frugal and a little bit more discerning about where we absolutely have to spend money then that will control our demand, and over time, if we’re collectively making those kinds of choices, then we should see this inflationary time that we’re experiencing relax a little bit,” Dr. Yates said.

Dr. Yates added that she doesn’t anticipate that we will see any of that relief this year because we’re heading into the holiday season where demand for certain goods is at an all-time high.

Analysts said prices could drop next summer.

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