by Paige Terryberry
Senior Analyst for Fiscal Policy, John Locke Foundation
The U.S. consumer-price index (CPI) rose 0.4% in September, faster than the August rate. On an annual basis, CPI rose 5.4% since September 2020. CPI measures the changes in prices paid by consumers for goods and services over a given time. Inflation, the decrease in purchasing power of the dollar, harms the poor most, as a higher share of their income is paid to these everyday goods and services.
Gasoline and food are two categories with ballooning prices affecting North Carolinians daily. The food index increased 0.9% in September. Beef alone rose 4.8% in September and 17.6% over the past year. The gasoline index rose 1.2% in September and a whopping 42.1% increase over the past year. Airline tickets and clothing are among the few items that decreased in price this month.
A shortage of workers and supply-chain and inventory challenges are part of the problem. Businesses are passing these costs along to consumers in the form of higher price tags.