Inflation hits 40 year high, but it is not necessarily ALL bad news

Posted at 6:24 PM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 18:24:52-04

DETROIT (WXYZ ) — The Consumer Price Index is out for March, putting the inflation we are feeling into numbers.

First the bad news: If you are one of the 1% of Michiganders who use fuel oil to heat your home, turn down your thermostat or you will be spending 70.1% more than a year ago.

The cost of filling up your gas tank in March was 48% more than a year ago.

“We own a trucking company. So the fuel for us is horrible,” said Dana Hamblin of Express Transportation.

Hamblin says her company has not raised rates enough to cover the cost yet.

“Because customers act like they don’t understand that in order for us to survive and move your freight it is based off of fuel,” she said.

Food prices are up about 8.8% People out grocery shopping say they have noticed.

“Strawberry prices have gone up a lot, as well as meat,” observed Tori Ramfos as she wrapped up a grocery shopping trip.

Overall, in the last year, the all items index increased 8.5%, the largest spike since 1981.

“It is a little bit scary,” said Professor Kevin D Cotter, Wayne State University Department of Economics Chair.

Professor Cotter says while there is reason to be concerned, it is not all bad news.

“Food and energy costs have been bumping up largely because of the war and they almost certainly are going to come back down,” said Cotter.

If you exclude historically volatile food and energy prices, inflation has moderated. It was up 0.5% in February and then 0.3% in March, leading some to hope inflation is peaking.

“If you look at, for example, medical costs, those go up but they don’t go down so the fact those aren’t going up so much is good news. The things that are going up the most are the things that go down just as easily,” said Professor Cotter.

Professor Cotter says the pandemic continues to cause inflation. China has implemented lockdowns impacting the supply chain.

The war in Ukraine is impacting oil and food markets, causing inflation.

There is uncertainty, but there is also reason for some optimism that the Federal Reserve might be able to manage inflation without causing a recession.

“The things that would lead to a recession, a drop in consumer demand or job losses, we are seeing the opposite right now,” said Cotter.

You can read a summary of the Consumer Price Index at https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm.