NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many Americans are feeling the squeeze and sticker shock at the grocery store. We’re all paying more for everyday items than we have in decades.
Prices are up as the U.S. sees the highest inflation rate in 40 years.READ MORE: The Squeeze: Fed Set To Raise Interest Rates In March
CBS2’s Jessica Moore explains why and what the feds could do to help.
City shoppers are feeling the pain of historic inflation, as everything they need is more expensive.
“A salmon salad. I used to buy it. It was $10.99. Before that it was 9.99. Now it’s 11.99,” Upper West Side resident Margrecia Florenz said. “It’s very annoying and my salary hasn’t gone up, but the price of everything has gone up. I just have less money to save.”
“Everything is expensive. Everything has gone up,” another shopper said.
Grocery prices soared 6.5% in 2021, marking the biggest increase in 13 years.
“Vegetables, meat, fish, household goods, everything has gone up,” said Marjorie Rosnick of Harlem.
“I’ve noticed it in produce like lemons. I’ve noticed it in cheese. I’ve noticed it in chocolate, which that doesn’t please me,” added Jeannie Filippini of the Upper West Side.
Comparing average prices from the end of 2020 to the end of 2021, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says a container of strawberries will cost you around $6.70, up from $4.43. A pound of bacon now cost $8.16, compared to $7.21, and a gallon of milk is $3.77, up from $3.32.READ MORE: Consumer Prices Expected To Remain High 'Well Into Next Year,' Experts Say
“We look at prices but because of the pandemic. It’s a trade off because we’re not traveling or going out to eat as much,” UWS resident Howard Frey said.
“We’ve stopped going out to eat because they’re absurd, too. You can’t get out of there for less than $80, $90 for just a simple meal,” Walter Howland added.
Experts say the pandemic and supply chain disruptions have created a perfect storm, and everything from the price of hotel rooms to clothes and cars is now more expensive.
“We start with surging demand, by people home during COVID. Then we have strained supply. Econ 101 boils down to supply and demand and prices, so when you have surging demand amid constrained supply, prices rise, and there’s not a lot you can do to unwind that in your own life,” CBS business analyst Jill Schlesinger said.
Even if some people can eat the rising cost of groceries, the price of big-ticket items may be harder to swallow.
“If you are going out to buy a new car and you gotta pay 10% more than you did a year ago, or you’ve gotta buy a used car because there are no new cars and you’re paying 30% more, that’s a real eye-opening experience,” Schlesinger said.
The fed is expected to raise interest rates sometime within the next few months, in an effort to put a lid on growing inflation. In the meantime, many families will continue to feel the squeeze.
In addition to used cars, some of the biggest price hikes are being seen in hotel rates, which have jumped 23.9% annually.MORE NEWS: Biden Releasing Oil From Strategic Petroleum Reserve To Help Lower Gas Prices
The only sectors which saw a price decrease were car insurance and some recreation categories.