You’re not imagining it — many items are more expensive than they used to be. Some by a little, others by a lot. The United States isn’t in runaway inflation territory right now, but we’re definitely seeing some unusually pricey consumer goods.
If you haven’t noticed it in your day-to-day life, you’ve at least seen it in the headlines: From flights to lumber to chicken wings, prices are higher for many goods and services across the economy. Some people are pointing to these and other price increases as signs that worrisome inflation is on the horizon, arguing that the situation could soon rival what happened in the United States in the 1970s — a period of “stagflation” when the US saw high inflation coupled with slow economic growth and high unemployment.
But many economists and policymakers, including the chair of the Federal Reserve, think it’s likely transitory and that the economy might just be running a little hot right now. They say it will likely cool down as some of the post-pandemic bottlenecks and imbalances work themselves out. It looks like it’s already starting to happen in lumber. It’s also worth noting that last year we saw deflation in some areas of the economy, meaning prices went down, and so it makes sense that they would rebound.