It’s tough for consumers to rationalize how inflation could be a good thing, especially if they haven’t received pay increases in years, but increasing costs are believed by many to be a sign of a healthy economy. That’s why Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Wednesday that the central bank will keep a close eye on inflation levels and may altar monetary policy to maintain the phenomenon if prices start to level off.
Good news for Medicare enrollees who are on fixed incomes and counting pennies as well as pills: The price of prescription drug premiums in the program are expected to slightly dip next year.
If you’re in the market for a 3D TV, you’d do well to restrain your urge until the holiday season, when prices are expected to drop as much as $250 from current levels. While 3D TVs commanded a price premium of $900 last year, the premium has now plummeted to $400, and could slip to $150 by year’s end.
Welcome to the era in which $3.63 gas is welcomed as a relief. After a rapid, budget-breaking price surge at the pumps, drivers have finally caught a break with the average gallon of gas Friday dropping 11 cents over the previous two weeks. The price is still nearly a dollar more than gas cost a year ago.
The road trip activity that goes hand in hand with the end of the school year tends to drive up gas prices, but drivers are instead finding a bit of relief at the pump. Thanks to a drop in demand, an expected increase in production and fading crude prices, U.S. gas prices have dropped 4 percent over the past three weeks.
A colossal snowstorm in Minnesota did to the Metrodome what other teams have been doing to the Vikings most of the season, making it collapse under intense pressure. Snow punctured the puffy, Teflon roof of the 28-year-old structure, forcing tonight’s Vikings-Giants game to be played in Detroit. The game had already been delayed because the Giants couldn’t get a flight into Minneapolis.
Even though gas prices keep rising, businesses haven’t been sticking customers with price hikes. In fact, the bear economy has staggered the Consumer Price Index once again, with the index rising only 0.1 percent in May. The miniscule, less-than-expected increase, following a flat April, means that prices were 1.3 percent lower in May than they were a year ago — the largest year-over-year drop since 1950.
Ok, so we’re running out of ways to say that consumer prices have fallen — again. This time its the steepest drop since 1955.
Grab your nearest economist and hold them tight, prices are falling. The Labor Department says that the obsessed-over Consumer Price Index fell 0.4 percent for the year — the first annual drop since 1955.
Just when we thought we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, retail sales dropped “unexpectedly” in March after a three month period of growth. Why is this bad? Because it makes economists worry about deflation.
If you’re looking for a photograph to illustrate how our economy has changed over the past few months, take a look at this. No, that’s not a parking lot in a town where everyone has the same taste. It’s the Port of Long Beach, where “thousands of cars worth tens of millions of dollars are being warehoused,” unwanted by the dealers who used to sell them. They’re imports — Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Nissan orphans.
The Consumer Price Index, which measures how much Americans spend on consumer goods like groceries, clothing, entertainment and other goods and services, fell by 1 percent in October compared with prices in the previous month, says the NYT. “It was the steepest single-month drop in the 61-year history of the pricing survey.”
The New York Times has an interesting article today about the rising specter of deflation — in which a lack of demand causes prices to fall. Falling prices sounds like a good thing for consumers who have been battered with rising costs over the past year — but experts agree — deflation is nothing but bad news.