The Labor Department’s March inflation numbers released this month skyrocketed past February’s, hitting a 12-month increase of 8.5 percent and the steepest annual increase since 1981. That’s no small figure, but most Americans know the inflation they encounter at the grocery store checkout, the gas pump, the car lot, and the leasing office is far higher than that.
Just look at basic items like groceries and gas, and you’ll see how much higher those necessities are climbing than the generic inflation figures slapped across headlines.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in the average U.S. city, ground beef is up 14.9 percent since last March, boneless stew beef is up 24.3 percent, bacon is up 23.1 percent, boneless chicken breasts are up 17.6 percent, eggs are up 25.9 percent, milk is up 17 percent, frozen orange juice concentrate is up 18 percent, and ground coffee is up 15.8 percent. Meanwhile, fuel oil has jumped a whopping 71.5 percent, and utility gas is up 23.3 percent.
Many of these urban numbers don’t even capture how steeply prices have risen for middle America, however. In the Midwest, ground beef has risen 24.5 percent, almost 10 percentage points more than the urban average.