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Bacon, Gas, Cars: Here’s Everything Getting More Expensive As Inflation Spikes

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Consumer prices jumped the most in nearly 13 years last month with Americans taking advantage of higher savings and a reopening economy. Here are the items whose prices rose the most last month compared to a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly consumer price index report.

Key Facts

Nearly a third of the total annualized 4.2% price increase in April was accounted for by used car and truck prices, which rose 10%, in the biggest one-month increase since the government started tracking prices in 1953.

Though they fell 3.3% month-to-month, fuel prices were up 28% in April over a year ago, when they collapsed amid a downturn in mobility due to lockdowns—and that’s before the price spikes this month sparked by the Colonial Pipeline’s partial operations shutdown.

Bacon prices, meanwhile, soared 10.7% last month—climbing 3.3% month to month and nabbing the biggest yearly price increase among all food tracked in the report.

Other food items soaring in cost include fresh fruits (citrus in particular), which got 6% more expensive in the 12 months through April, and dried beans, peas and lentils, whose prices climbed nearly 7%. 

Fueled by a pandemic-induced boom in demand for home appliances, laundry equipment has gotten nearly 24% more expensive—outpacing all major appliances, which posted a yearly price increase of 12%.

Travel’s also costing more: airline fares were up 10%, lodging prices rose 8%, and car and truck rentals skyrocketed in price by 82% last month.

Tangent

Not everything’s getting more expensive. Prices for telephone hardware, calculators and similar items fell 17% in April. And if you’re grabbing a bite to eat in between classes or work, food prices at employee sites and schools dipped 35% last month over a year ago. Window coverings, meanwhile, ran about 9% lower year over year.

Key Background

In a Wednesday note to clients, Bank of America analysts called the April CPI report a “massive surprise,” saying near-term inflation was likely driven by goods shortages and the economic reopening. Investors have been worried that unprecedented government spending during the pandemic could cause problematic inflation as the pandemic subsides, but the Federal Reserve, which can hike interest rates to combat rising prices, has insisted it won’t raise rates until the economy reaches full employment and inflation “consistently” stays at 2%. So far, the Wednesday CPI reports marks only the second month since February 2020 that inflation has exceeded 2%. 

Further Reading

Meet The Inflation Profiteers (Forbes)

Inflation Surged 2.6% On A Yearly Basis In March—Here’s Why (Forbes)

Inflation’s Mixed Basket: 7 Things That Will Cost You More—And 3 That Will Cost You Less—In The Covid Recovery Economy (Forbes)

Dow Falls 300 Points: Stocks Slip A Third Day After ‘Huge’ Inflation Reading (Forbes)

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