Durable Goods Inflation Breaks All-Time 1970s High as Prices Jump 14.9%

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: U.S. President Joe Biden answers reporters' questions after delivering closing remarks for the White House's virtual Summit For Democracy in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on December 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. According to the State Department, the summit brought together 100 leaders from government, …
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While the overall pace of inflation reached a nearly four-decade high in November, inflation for longer-lasting goods actually hit an all-time high.

Prices of durable goods jumped 1.6 percent in November compared with the prior month, data from the Labor Department showed Friday.  That would be an all-time record apart from the extraordinarily high monthly price hikes seen in April, May, and June of this year.

Over the past 12-months, prices of durable goods are up 14.9 percent, higher than the record annual gain of 14.4 percent hit in May 1975.

Durable goods are those expected to last three or more years. Nondurable goods prices rose 10.7 percent, the highest since July 2008.

Some of the categories making big moves up last month:

  • Furniture prices jumped 11.8 percent compared with a year ago.
  • Bedroom furniture is up 9.9 percent.
  • Living room, kitchen, and dining room furniture are up 14.1 percent.
  • Major appliances up 5.5 percent.
  • Indoor plants and flowers up 6.4 percent.
  • Tools and hardware up six percent.
  • New vehicles up 11.1 percent.
  • Used cars and trucks up 31.4 percent.
  • Car parts are up 10.2 percent.
  • Tires are up 11.1 percent.
  • Televisions, which had been falling in price for years, saw prices rise 7.9 percent.
  • Bicycles and other sports vehicles up 9.4 percent.
  • Sports equipment up 6.7 percent.
  • Computers and smart home assistants up 4.8 percent.

Many of these categories became highly reliant on imports, either for their components or as finished goods. Much of the U.S. industry that once produced furniture, for example, was wiped out by trade with China. So the supply-chain issues that have caused port congestion is likely leading to shortages and higher prices.

As well, the influx of Biden administration stimulus money pumped up demand for durable goods. The rise of the Delta variant infections held back spending on services, pushing even more spending into goods.

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