Consumer Prices At At A Higher Point As Economy Improves Post-Pandemic

CBS4's Michael George reports on the economy's struggle with the recent high consumer prices across the nation.

Video Transcript

- It's your money, and you've likely noticed that you're paying more every day and not for every day and not so every day items.

- Even as the economy stumbles back from the pandemic, Americans are still feeling the effects on their wallets. CBS4's Michael George explains why.

MICHAEL GEORGE: As shoppers return to their local grocery stores, they're noticing a big change.

- This is unusually expensive.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Prices are rising at the fastest pace in more than a decade, and CBS business analyst Jill Schlesinger says it's not just at the supermarket.

JILL SCHLESINGER: It is appliances. It is furniture. It is now airline prices, hotels, rental cars.

MICHAEL GEORGE: And gasoline. Prices were elevated even before the temporary shutdown of the nation's largest pipeline.

DAN ANDERSON: All this starts going on and it's like the toilet paper fiasco all over again.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Homeowners hoping to build or remodel have had some of the worst sticker shock of all.

JILL SCHLESINGER: Lumber prices have gone up by 400% from a year ago. Why? Because a year ago saw mills said, we're in the middle of an ice cold recession. Let's shut down the mills. They shut them down. What did they not expect? For people to say, I want to remodel my house. I need to build an extension.

MICHAEL GEORGE: A new survey shows 87% of Americans are concerned about rising expenses. The question now haunting economists is whether these price hikes are a pandemic blip or a sign of a long term threat to the economy. That threat is inflation.

CECILIA ROUSE: At the moment it looks as though people fully expect this inflation to be temporary, where temporary is when the economy more fully recovers.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Sustained inflation could force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, a move that could put the brakes on economic growth.

JILL SCHLESINGER: We are watching this. This is the most important thing on economists mind right now.

MICHAEL GEORGE: And a lesson that it's easier to freeze the economy than to defrost it. Michael George, CBS News, New York.