Record inflation erodes dollar by 1.2% since 2020, even with wage increases

Data Desk

DENVER (KDVR) — A dollar is getting less and less valuable.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Real Earnings and Consumer Price Index reports on Nov. 10, and the data is grim.

Inflation has continued at a rapid pace since spring 2021 and shows no signs of slowing down. The price increases have eaten away whatever spending power wage workers have gained in the same time period.

BLS compares the average gain in wages to the average change in prices to get real earnings. In October 2021, real wages had dropped 1.2% since October 2020. They dropped 0.5% since last month.

Wages have increased in the last year, but prices have risen faster.

The average hourly wage went up from the previous month every month this year except March. Consumer prices, though, rose more. Every month of 2021 has seen prices go up an average of 0.6%.

In October alone, prices went up from September by double the amount wages did: 0.9% compared to 0.4%.

Year-over-year, prices have risen 6.2% for all items. They haven’t gone up that much since November 1990.

These price gains are nearly universal across spending categories, but the biggest price jumps are in items necessary for any working American. Prices have risen for virtually all necessities.

Energy prices top the list, up 30% since last year. Food prices have risen 5.3%.

Shelter has gone up 3.5%, and while that is a smaller price bump, it is also a household’s largest expense by far.

Gasoline prices are up 50%, utility gas services up 29% and electricity up 6.5%.

In the grocery store, nothing has risen in price like meat, particularly beef.

Beef roasts are up 25%, beef steaks up 24% and ground beef up 13%. Bacon costs 15% more than last year, and chicken costs 9% more.

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