TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Higher inflation across the U.S. is hitting all industries and Americans hard, but some of the largest increases came among typical breakfast foods. The latest measure of national cost increases show the big three drivers of price surges are still food, housing, and energy.
Current cost increases hit the highest level sine 1980. June’s inflation rate rose to 9.1%, showing that when it comes to spending, Americans aren’t out of the hole yet. Fuel and rental costs were the two biggest categories to blame for higher inflation, but food costs have continued to increase.
The inflation data comes from the latest Consumer Price Index, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, inflation levels remain on a streak of “40-year high” reports.
In their most recent report on cost increases, all items collectively were at their highest level of inflation since November 1981. Broken up into categories, food was at its highest since February 1981, energy was at its highest since April 1980. Additionally, rental costs were at their highest inflation level since April 1986.
Costs for car repair, clothes, household furnishings, and recreation all went up in June.
“While almost all major component indexes increased over the month, the largest contributors were the indexes for shelter, used cars and trucks, medical care, motor vehicle insurance, and new vehicles,” BLS said.
Higher prices are also translating across both sides of the economy, to consumers and producers.
The Producer Price Index rose 11.3% in June, its largest increase since March’s “record” of 11.6%.
While housing costs have continued to rise since 2020, the ability to adjust inventory for more housing demand has been problematic due to supply chain disruptions during COVID-19 and higher costs for materials as a result.
The PPI showed materials and components for construction, what’s needed to build houses and apartments, had risen 15.1% over the past year. Still, it’s not all increases. Softwood lumber, used for construction framing and interior construction, had prices drop 22.6%. Hardwood lumber, though, only went down 0.7%.
When it comes to food, the CPI showed breakfast basics such as cereal and bacon went up 15.1% and 11.9%, respectively. For those who need a darker boost in the morning, coffee costs rose 16.8%, while milk prices rose 16.4%. However, the biggest breakfast bunch price jump was for eggs, which had prices rise 33.1%.
Spreads for toast weren’t far behind for price increases to shoppers. The price of butter and margarine, collectively, went up 26.3% in June, according to BLS. However, the price for margarine was up even higher at 34.5% while butter alone was up 21.3%.
Produce prices weren’t up as much as other grocery items. Fresh fruits and vegetables saw prices increase 7% while meat, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 11.7%.
Among the meats, poultry had the largest price increases, with chicken on its own getting almost 20% more expensive. BLS said the food index rose 1%.
Combined with higher energy costs and higher housing costs, the inflation levels are hitting everyday Americans across all industries except in tourism. The only portions to go down, according to BLS, “were lodging away from home and airline fares,” meaning hotels and plane tickets got less expensive as the rest of the U.S. economy saw costs go up.
While the federal government continues to attempt to control inflation levels through increased interest rates from the Federal Reserve, current monetary policy is showing a tight labor market but a falling gross domestic product, according to Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller.
The biggest challenge for the economy right now, according to Waller, is inflation.
“We must be focused on reducing inflation because, despite a lot of talk about recession lately, the evidence from the labor market indicates the economy is on track, while inflation continues to be far too high,” Waller said. “It must be our focus because high inflation is the biggest challenge to sustaining our employment goal, and the greatest burden for individuals and families, especially lower- and moderate-income households that dedicate a larger share of their spending to necessities.”
Along with the CPI’s reported cost increases, mortgage rates remain elevated, and have again risen. The CPI showed rent prices and mortgage costs were higher, with shelter costs up 5.6%. Split between rent and “owners’ equivalent of rent,” Americans paid 5.7% more for rentals and 5.5% more for ownership.
On July 7, the rate reported by Freddie Mac, a federally-backed mortgage company, was 5.3%. The rate has now risen to 5.51%. Housing, fuel, and food continue to be sources of elevated inflation.