We’ve been hearing a lot about inflation rates lately on a national scale. However, how inflation impacts you depends on what you spend your money on. Ben Casselman and Ella Koeze for The New York Times provide an estimate for you.
Category Archives: inflation
Inflation is high. For NYT’s The Upshot, Emily Badger, Aatish Bhatia and Quoctrung Bui busted out the word cloud to show the price increases people noticed in February. As you might expect, the things that people purchase more often appear higher on the list, because the changes are easier to track.
“There are different ways of thinking about the inflation issue, and economists by default tend to think about macroeconomic issues such as inflation in macroeconomic terms,” said Isabella Weber, an economist at UMass Amherst. “In this current situation that we are facing, we basically have very strong micro dynamics, that is dynamics on the level of specific sectors that translate into a more general kind of price pressure.”
Eggs don’t paint the full inflation picture in the US, but they do a part of it — it’s more expensive to feed chickens and move eggs around, so it’s more expensive to produce and move eggs, so it’s more expensive for consumers to buy eggs.
When you compare the price of things today against prices one year ago, almost everything increased in cost at a rapid rate. While out of the ordinary, it’s definitely not the first time this happened. The New York Times zoomed out to show year-over-year price change since 1960, framing the timeline in the context of age generations.
Zoom into the data super close, and every blip can seem like a mountain. Zoom out for a better sense of scale.
For NYT Opinion, Josh Bivens and Stuart A. Thompson argue that you don’t need to panic about inflation:
It may surprise many Americans that even during times of strong growth and very low inflation (like the late 1990s) or weak growth and low inflation (like the years following the Great Recession), more than half of all goods and services are usually experiencing price increases. In part, this is because it is awfully hard for employers to cut nominal wages, even in a recession. And economists see some mild, steady economy-wide inflation as a sign of a healthy economy. The Fed, for instance, actively targets an average overall inflation level of 2 percent per year.
I like the mini visual cues in the body text so that you don’t have to scroll or refer back to the full chart to see what they’re talking about.