Consumer prices are surging at the highest inflation rate in 39 years.
Consumer prices rose by 6.8% in November compared to a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report. This number represents the highest inflation rate since the 12-month period ending in June 1982.
The latest change was seen in the energy index, which rose 3.5% in the month, including a 6.1% jump in gas prices from last month. Apparel prices rose 1.3% compared to October, and airline fares rose 4.7% after declining in recent months.
Footwear prices continued to increase, marking the eighth consecutive month of year over year increases. The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) said that these results suggest that its prediction that 2021 footwear retail prices will grow at the fastest rate in decades will likely come to fruition.
Retail footwear prices rose 4.7%, with men’s growing 6.2% and women’s growing 4.8%. Children’s footwear prices rose 2.2% prices.
The rapid increase in prices is a result of skyrocketing consumer demand coupled with limited product supply and high import duties on footwear. The FDRA previously estimated that consumer spending on footwear could exceed $100 billion for the first time this year, which would blow past last year’s $77.6 billion.
“The record duties on footwear imports similarly are raising retail prices on hardworking American families at a time when they can least afford it,” said Matt Priest, president and CEO of the FDRA. “We call on the Biden administration to remove duties on footwear imports to return money to the pockets of consumers.”
Online prices in November also rose a record 3.5% compared to 2020, according to Adobe data released on Thursday. This growth marked the highest price jump recorded by Adobe since 2014, when it started recording digital sales. November continued recent inflation trends and marked the 18th consecutive month of price increases online.
Higher wages across the retail industry have also contributed to higher prices, as employers offer higher starting wages and benefits to attract and maintain talent amid a challenging hiring market. For example, Macy’s recently announced that it would boost its minimum pay to $15 per hour and launch a tuition benefit program for all U.S.-based salaried and hourly employees. At Kohl’s, hourly store, distribution center and e-commerce fulfillment center employees who work through the holidays will be eligible for a bonus of between $100 and $400.