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Susan Tompor: Consumer prices up 7.5% in the Midwest over the past year; faster than nation

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

Another spot for hefty price hikes: food away from home or or the cost of dining out, including takeout.

In the Midwest, the food away from home category was up 7.7% — up significantly from the West, which was up 5.5%, and the South, which was up 5.4%.

"The food categories are where we are feeling a bigger pinch in our wallets," LaPorte said.

Wage hikes drive up prices on the shelf

What's likely to be driving food prices up, though, continues to be higher wages in many areas, as well as higher costs for transportation and gas.

The labor shortage during the pandemic has many companies paying sign-up bonuses, including at restaurants, and raising hourly wages — costs that are being passed along to consumers.

 

Kurt Rankin, economist for the PNC Financial Services Group, said states throughout the Midwest region are seeing wage growth that is consistently outpacing the national average.

"Stronger wage growth is a prime contributor to inflation," Rankin said, "as increased demand through higher incomes chases a limited supply of goods and services."

Many people aren't returning to the workforce, driving some employers to need to raise wages and offer bonuses to attract a limited supply of workers.

"On this score, Michigan is one of the worst-off states in the region in terms of inflationary fuel. Michigan's labor force is still 3.4% smaller than it was in February 2020," Rankin said.

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