New York (CNN Business) – By now you probably know that everything is getting more expensive, from furniture to used cars to meat. Consumer prices have risen steadily since January as the economy recovers and Americans again spend money on a daily basis.
Also driving up prices: The ongoing pandemic has affected supply chains, limiting supplies, even as demand for goods skyrockets.
Overall, consumer prices rose 5% last month from May last year – the largest increase since the summer of 2008 and more than the forecast increase of 4.7%.
Here’s what you need to know about how prices are changing.
Thinking of buying a new sofa? Maybe some new bedding? Be prepared to pay more than usual.
Prices for furniture and home operations, which include categories such as household services and furniture and bedding, rose 1.3% last month. From a distance the change does not seem very large, but it marks the largest monthly increase since January 1976.
Last spring, when the pandemic brought economic chaos, sawmills closed in anticipation of a housing decline. That depression never came. Now, timber prices are skyrocketing as the supply of timber has tried unsuccessfully to keep up with demand.
For the second month in a row, used car and truck prices rose. Last month, they rose 7.3%, representing about a third of the overall price increase in May. In April, used car and truck prices rose 10%, the largest monthly price increase since used car data was first tracked in 1953.
New cars also became more expensive, rising 1.6% in May. That’s the biggest increase in a month since October 2009.
Working at home, coupled with job losses last year, caused car sales to plummet. In response, many dealerships closed. While demand for cars has returned, supply has not. Automotive plants around the world have been forced to shut down or limit production following a recent shortage of computer chips. Now car dealers have fewer cars on their lots. Strong demand and limited supply continue to drive prices up.
Americans have been stuck at home for more than a year. But with COVID-19 restrictions easing and vaccination rates soaring, travel is making a comeback and people are eager to get going.
Airline fare prices continued to rise, rising 7% last month. Other forms of travel transportation continued to increase. Car and truck rentals are 12.1% more expensive, and other intercity transports now cost 2% more.
Once you arrive at your destination, things are not so bad. Prices for intra-community transport decreased 0.4% last month.
If you plan to buy beef cuts or steaks to cook at your 4th of July party this year, you may want to reconsider. The price of each rose 6.4% and 4.3%, respectively, last month. Alternatively, you can try the sausages, which are 1.9% cheaper than in April, or the ham, which is 2.7% cheaper. Overall, prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs increased 1.3% last month.
Fortunately, pickle prices fell 2.1%, non-alcoholic beverage prices fell 0.5%, and fruit and vegetable prices generally didn’t change, so you can at least stock up on side dishes and drinks for your Christmas celebrations.
Notoriously volatile, food prices continue to go up in general. The cost of food increased 0.4% in May. That is the same increase as in April.
Although prices are going up, there is good news, especially if you need a doctor.
The health care index, which includes items such as drugs, medical equipment and health services, increased 0.9% in the last 12 months. Yes, it is a larger increase than last year, but it is the smallest increase since March 1941.