Don’t call it a rebound — while the economy has definitely bounced back since its lowest point in the pandemic, lingering effects are driving up the price of many items, from everyday products such as food and appliances, to things you may be planning to buy in the future, such as televisions and cars.
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A number of factors are contributing to the steep rise in consumer prices: supply chain delays and shortages, worker shortages, rising inflation and stagnant wages, to name a few, are the perfect storm for high prices without relief. Here we look at some of the most popular consumer items you can expect to pay more for now and in the coming months.
Last updated: Oct. 20, 2021
Perhaps it’s all the time we’ve spent indoors that is making many people take a look at their homes and decide they’re ready for an upgrade on appliances. Whatever the reason, demand for appliances has gone up, but supply has not been able to keep up, according to Designer Appliances. President and co-founder of Designer Appliances, Metin Ozkuzey, stated on their blog that the increase of 10% in wholesale costs is about three times the usual increase.
“By comparison, from one year to the next, that increase has historically been closer to 3%,” he said.
Furniture prices have only continued to climb, reflecting the woes of the lumber industry, which have not been able to rebound effectively due to the trials of the pandemic. Lumber costs jumped from April 2020 to April 2021 by 200%, according to Business Insider, and then rose another 11.2% in the last quarter, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Consumer Price Index.
If you’re among those workers who were able to continue working at home during the pandemic, consider yourself lucky — you’re not just saving on commute time, you’re saving extra on gasoline, as the price of gas rose by 42.1% from this same time a year ago, according to the BLS. This is not only due to the increased cost of petroleum, but issues related to a lack of trucking drivers who can drive the petroleum where it needs to go, according to AARP.
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Being forced to spend so much more time inside and at home during the pandemic drove up the demand for televisions. This coupled with supply chain disruptions and increased costs of materials, and TV prices have skyrocketed, according to the BLS. One of the base ingredients in microchips, raw silicon, rose by more than 100% in 2021, while other crucial parts such as integrated circuits, copper and lead frames also rose between 10% to 50% in 2021, according to Digital Trends. Additionally, LCD panels are experiencing a shortage. It’s the consumer who pays the price.
The days when cars were made of simple parts are long gone; now, most cars require a computer to tell those same parts what to do. And computers require microchips, for which there is currently a shortage. That, coupled with workforce shortages and safety protocols that closed some automotive factories, and the cost of buying a new car has gone up by nearly 9%, according to the BLS. When we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars to buy a car, that kind of percentage adds a whole lot of cash.
Meat lovers of all kinds, from beef and poultry to fish (and even eggs) can also expect to be paying more for their protein these days. According to the BLS, the index for poultry, fish and eggs rose by 2.2% and beef by 4.8% recently. The problem is that, even though businesses and operations have largely been able to go back to business as usual, the effects of the pandemic have lingered in the form of staffing problems, ingredient shortages and unpredictable shipping problems.