Feel like you’re paying more for — almost everything? You’re not wrong

Financial Fitness
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BROOKLYN — Anybody who feels like they’re paying more for things now than they did a year ago — or even a month ago — is not delusional. Prices have gone up higher and faster than most financial experts had predicted, and now they wonder if this is the start of a longer trend that could have a negative effect on people in our region.

One mother who was pushing a cart full of groceries near Atlantic Terminal summed up what she’s observed in the last few months.

“We definitely are paying more,” she said.  “It’s mostly food, mostly food. Food went up.”  

Numbers released on Thursday from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm that. The Consumer Price Index shows that overall, prices have jumped 5% from a year ago, on average. In the last month, the index shows, overall prices are up 0.6%. Both of those numbers are higher than most economists had predicted.  

Regarding food purchased to eat at home, the price increase is 0.7% over the last year. Much higher is the increase in the price of food eaten outside of the home.: it’s gone up 4% from a year ago.  

Solace Naeymi, is a local resident who works in a restaurant. She said that she wasn’t surprised to learn about the restaurant food price increase.  

“Food has definitely gone up,” she said.  “We’re buying it wholesale [at the restaurant], and prices have doubled.”  

Defina Scott was eating her takeout lunch when she spoke with PIX11 News. She agreed that prices for food from eateries are a little higher. More expensive, she said, was something else:

“Transportation,” she said, adding that she’s seen a specific rise in the prices of ways she uses to get around.

“Rideshare,” she said as an example, like Uber and Lyft.  “All those conveniences that were helpful during the height of the pandemic has dramatically increased” in price, she said.  

Federal economists agree. They said that transportation services now cost more than 11% more than a year ago.  

The reason behind the increases is one that Tom Aleman, a Brooklynite who’d gone shopping on Thursday, identified.

“There’s less supply,” he said.  

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics concurred. Its Consumer Price Index report shows that supplies are more difficult to obtain, because of the pandemic slowing or shutting down factories.  
Because semiconductors are in short supply, for instance, the cost of new cars, which rely on them, is up 3.3%. However, the cost of used cars and trucks has skyrocketed 29.7% from a year ago.
What’s increased even more is the cost to fuel them up. At 56.2% more, it’s the most costly change in the index.

Along with the rise in inflation, has come a rise in wages for some people in the current economy, as employers find it challenging to fill some positions.

Naeymi, the restaurant worker, said that that was just fine with her.

“It’s been hard for everyone,” she said.  “So having prices go up to help everyone post-COVID is also okay.”

However, said Aaron Dessan, a financial advisor at Payne Capital Management, broad increases in wages can have their own challenges for the economy. 

“Really what we’re seeing now is wage inflation,” Dessan said in an interview. “If we continue to see wage inflation, which we think we will,” he continued, “that is going to be ultimately passed down to the consumer, which is why we think this is not transitory, and it’s going to continue.”

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