Consumer Alert: The price you pay is going up

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In your consumer alert, the price we pay. On Tuesday we got a look at the C.P.I., the consumer price index. That essentially measures the cost of living.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that in March, the C.P.I. saw an increase of 0.6%, the biggest monthly jump in nine years.

Here’s what that means to you and me. That trip to the grocery store costs more. Prices are up for staples like milk, cereal and coffee. We’re also shelling out more money for medical, housing and haircuts. But the primary reason for the giant hike in the cost of living is the price we’re paying at the pump. In New York, that price is up more than 60 cents from this time last year.

So here’s the big question. Should we be worried? Does this monthly jump in the cost of living mean that inflation is on a scary trajectory? And could the fed respond by raising interest rates?

After all, we’ve seen that movie; and it wasn’t good. Some of you remember the runaway inflation of the ’70s with interest rates reaching a whopping 20%. That’s like buying a car with a credit card.

That’s why some economists were critical of the size of the most recent stimulus measure. That $1.9 trillion bill put $1,400 bucks or more in your pocket. So while a lot of folks are spending, some businesses are struggling to keep pace. And that could spell trouble. So how should we as consumers respond?

As a mom I ask, should I buy my son’s shoes one size up because those shoes may cost more in six months? Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chairman, says we should stop fretting. Powell says prices will likely rise for a few months as consumers spend and businesses reopen, but he does not expect a 1970s movie re-make. No one wants to see that one again.

And that’s your consumer alert.