Inflation rates are plummeting, but are you feeling it in your wallet?

PITTSBURGH — As Lilly Wolff does her weekly grocery shopping, she’s keenly aware of just how much she’s spending.

“For me, if I make a list, I don’t buy things on impulse”, says Wolff, “I just keep to the list and bring a pen”.

Grocery inflation peaked in August of 2022 at 13.5%.

Over the last 12 months, those prices have risen only 1.3%. But that’s on top of the earlier spike.

Roz Ainsman of Morningside says, “We’re spending like 50 dollars more a week than we did before... it’s pretty big, we’re on a fixed income and it’s pretty big”.

“There are some goods and services we really can’t avoid”, says Dorene Ciletti, who is an associate professor of sales and marketing at Point Park University.

She said those people with a fixed or lower income are going to feel the impact of inflation harder because a bigger percentage of their paycheck goes to basic necessities.

Ciletti told us there are four items where prices significantly shot up, but have since come back down.

That includes egg prices which hit $4.87 a year ago and are now down to $2.50 for a dozen.

Gasoline in Pennsylvania peaked at just over $5 a gallon in June of 2022. Now it’s at $3.71.

The average price of a smartphone was $830 two years ago. It’s expected to be $814 this year.

And airfare out of Pittsburgh International Airport averaged $405 in the second quarter of 2022.

Now, it’s averaging about $369.

Many of these changes have been forced by supply and demand.

“Now we starting to see them decline again because consumers aren’t that excited to be out there and traveling”, said Ciletti.

Officials at Giant Eagle stores say they’ve tried to help offset grocery inflation by periodically locking prices on certain items.

Prices on some pre-packaged food remain up, but they are seeing an overall drop at the meat counter.

“We know a lot of people were struggling with the prices of protein last year”, says Jannah Jablonowski, “meat department, eggs, things like that, so we are happy to report we are seeing a downward trend on those prices”.

And while it would be great to see prices dive back down to pre-pandemic levels, that could lead to deflation, which could be very bad for the economy as it would likely coincide with a recession and flat or falling wages.

“Hopefully, things will continue to level out and we’ll see our economy grow at a rate that doesn’t lead to significant price increases”, said Ciletti, “that’s something we can adjust to because we also want to see wages catch up.”

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