Sunday, August 2, 2015

From Rents to Haircuts, Americans Start to Feel Price Hikes

AP (via Yahoo Finance) notices the price inflation:
Apartment rents are up. So are prices for restaurant meals, haircuts, gym memberships and a cup of coffee.

For American consumers who have become used to flat or even falling prices for several years, an unfamiliar sight has emerged in many corners of the economy: Inflation is ticking up...

Inflation as measured by the consumer price index has barely risen in the past 12 months, mostly because cheaper gas has held down the index.

But prices are rising. If you exclude food and energy, which tend to fluctuate sharply, "core" inflation has risen 2.3 percent at an annual rate in the past three months.

— Rents are moving up.

The biggest driver of inflation this year has been residential rents. They climbed 3.5 percent in June from a year earlier, according to government data, the fifth straight month with an annual gain of that size. That is the fastest yearly pace in six years...

The prices of restaurant meals are also rising more quickly, picking up 3 percent in June from 12 months earlier.

Higher food costs are helping drive the increase. Coffee prices jumped 6.1 percent in January from 12 months earlier, the most in nearly three years. At Starbucks, the price of a cup of coffee went up between 5 cents and 20 cents last month.

And beef prices have soared nearly 11 percent in the past year, which has led Chipotle to raise prices for steak and its beef barbacoa by an average of about 30 cents per entree, the company says...

Haircut prices jumped 1.6 percent in June, the biggest monthly jump in the 62 years that the government has tracked the data. Over the past year, they've gone up 2.8 percent, the largest year-over-year gain since 2008.

(ht Murray Sabrin)

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