Whether it is filling up the gas tank or shopping for food, some consumers told NBC 6 they’re feeling the pinch.
“People can’t afford it,” said Margaret, a shopper. “I’m on social security and it’s a little tight going to the grocery store and getting gas.”
According to the latest consumer price index data for the South Florida region, area prices went up 4.1% in the past year (April 2020 v. April 2021).
If you look at where things were in April of last year, much of the economy was shut down and prices had dipped to their lowest point in years. But as the economy recovered, the consumer price index for all items shot up.
Responding to every consumer complaint
Still, Steven Rondone, an economist with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, told NBC 6 it’s too soon to tell if prices are going to stay up.
“Because 2020 has been so different compared to other years … it’s really hard to mention if this April is going to be setting the new trend line or we’re just making up for 2020,” Rondone said.
The highest percentage increases over the year were seen in the gasoline category, with a 47.2% jump. Used cars and trucks also saw a double-digit increase of 20%.
“Food at home” saw increases in every subcategory, most notably in cereals and bakery products, with an increase of 5.5%, and meats, poultry, fish and eggs with an increase of 6.2%.
New vehicle prices were the only category showing a small over the year decrease of -0.6%.
Rondone said as the country continues its path toward normalcy, things will start stabilizing.
“It should help out the overall economy,” he said.
“We still need to feed our families,” said Monica, a South Florida shopper. “It makes it difficult.”
Monica, whose income was impacted by the pandemic, said the higher prices forced her to get creative on how to stretch her money.
“I’m just trying to find whatever little coupons, little things that I find, things are on sale, to just be able to do my groceries because it’s absurd,” she said. “It has gone up a lot.”
To save, shop around and try using price comparison apps that can help.
At the store, consider new brands and look for the unit price of an item to better compare deals.