Americans hungry to return to their pre-pandemic habits better be prepared to pay top dollar.
Across the board, Americans can expect to shell out 5 percent more for goods and services than they would have a year ago, the fastest rise of prices the US has seen since the summer of 2008. And there’s no sign of inflation slowing down, with prices rising 0.8 percent just from April to May.
The white-hot inflation is coming right as people and businesses across the country are emerging from the pandemic, ready to spend and return to their old habits.
Some of the rapid rise in costs seen now is being driven by wonky comparisons to the same time a year ago, when the pandemic gutted the economy and sent prices to the floor.
But other factors, including supply-chain constraints, shortages and a labor crunch, are all creating the perfect storm for higher prices. Here’s where it’s hitting Americans’ wallets the most:
Food prices rose 0.4 percent from the prior month and are now up 2.2 percent compared with the same month a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report.
Bacon was among the main culprits, with prices up 1.7 percent compared to the month prior and up a whopping 12 percent compared with a year ago. Americans, on average, can expect to shell out $6.35 for a pound of sliced bacon now, up a whole dollar compared to a year ago.
Milk prices also climbed higher in May, up 1.7 percent from April and 4.6 percent from a year ago. A gallon of whole milk will cost shoppers about $3.50, according to the Labor Department, up from $3.21 a year ago.
Prices for fruits and vegetables rose 0.2 percent from a month ago, and 2.9 percent over the prior 12 months. Citrus fruits, specifically, are hurting wallets, 2.8 percent more expensive in May than they were in April.
A pound of oranges, for example, cost American shoppers $1.32 in May, up from $1.20 a year prior.
Fuel is where the country saw some of the biggest increases in prices.
The price of gas rose 4.2 percent from April to May, and it’s now up 56.2 percent from a year ago.
A gallon of unleaded regular gasoline will run Americans $2.97, up from $1.88 a year ago. That’s the highest since 2014, according to the Labor Department’s data.
The average costs of propane and kerosene edged 1.8 percent lower from April to May, but remain 16.6 percent higher from a year ago.
Electricity costs ticked up, too. Americans can expect bills to be more than 4 percent higher than they were a year ago, the data shows.
The price increase of cars and rentals was among the main drivers of the overall surge in prices last month, the data shows. The price of new vehicles ticked just 1.5 percent higher from a month prior, and now stands 3.3 percent higher than it did a year ago.
Used cars and trucks saw the real price hikes, up 6.5 percent from April and a striking 29.7 percent from a year ago.
Car and truck rentals weren’t spared, either. Prices are up 10 percent compared with April, and are more than twice as expensive as they were a year ago, according to the data.