High Inflation?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WNYC business and economics editor Charlie Herman discusses inflation numbers and fields calls from business owners about how higher prices are affecting business.

Listeners: Are you seeing higher prices? Business owners, are higher prices affecting the way you're operating. Tell us about it!


Charlie Herman

Comments [12]

Gail Zawacki from oldwick, nj

Brian, you took my call (thank you!) yesterday in the segment about "curating". Today, you had a caller who has a granola maker who couldn't explain the rising cost of nuts, and I see comments here referring to the rise in cost for seed and decline in quality of produce.

This is exactly because of what I mentioned yesterday - air pollution is killing vegetation. Trees are dying at an accelerating rate. Yield and quality of agricultural products are decreasing because of ozone.

This is just something on my blog. This is all reported on the websites of the US Dept of Ag, NASA, US Forestry Dept., and hundreds of international agencies and universities.

Mar. 22 2011 12:02 PM
RBC from FiDi

I agree with Soupygirl. First, I definitely see a decline in quality and services at my neighborhood stores as owners have had to scale back costs and raise prices. But that affects me, the consumer, because now I don't shop as much - and that effects businesses. And if businesses don't grow then they don't hire. So its a lose-lose situation for everyone.

Mar. 22 2011 11:54 AM

Let's see: gas (because where I live a car is a necessity), metro north fare (my husband works in Westchester), food, oil to heat the house, propane to cook food, electricity to keep my computer running = very broke at the end of the month for just the basics.

So businesses need to pass on their costs, but it means I will have to make even harder choices with my "discretionary" funds. And in the end that effects these businesses.

Mar. 22 2011 11:38 AM
J. Reilly

I don't know about other aspects of new home construction, but my company does sewer installtions and the Nassau County permit has gone from $80 to $519 this year. This affects contractors and new home buyers and I assume the same kind of increase has been applied to other permits and fees.

Mar. 22 2011 11:38 AM
Jon in Brooklyn from brooklyn, ny

I have seen a big rise in coffee prices. Several roasters I frequent have subtly decreased the amount of coffee in a bag from 1lb. to 14 or 12 ounces, while keeping the cost of the bag the same. At other roasters I have seen as much as $4/lb increases in the last 6-8 months.

Mar. 22 2011 11:37 AM
James Dean from Bronx, NY

Birdinkee got the call from the well to do, they said "save us" and he started printing money and giving it to them by buying thier garbage debt (aka mortgage backs) and arteficially lowering interest rates so as to inflate real estate price.

Berdinkee got the same call from the poor and he told them, helping you will creat moral hazard..

PS he is still printing and passing the inflation on the poor... Ipads are twice as fast at the same price... not to many poor people run and buy Ipads

Mar. 22 2011 11:36 AM
Phoebe Epstein from West Caldwell, NJ

I own a small business selling products to backyard birdwatchers. Seed is our number one item and the price of seed has climbed along with other commodities. We've raised our prices a little, but we have cut our margins since feeding backyard birds is obviously a discretionary expense.

Mar. 22 2011 11:36 AM
Erin from manhattan

I buy soup and a roll every day for lunch. It's been $4.45 total for as long as I can remember. Last week it increased to $4.73. This week it increased to $5.07. Is this double increase in a short period of time a tactic on the part of businesses to keep us relieved when it stops rising, rather than discontent about the increase in the first place? I see the MTA has done the same thing the past few years.

Mar. 22 2011 11:35 AM

Another point regarding food costs... Not only have prices been rising, but quality is falling. All of my previously reliable sources of produce have been increasingly offering damaged and rotting food.

Mar. 22 2011 11:35 AM
Sara from Bushwick

We run a small accessories design and manufacturing company. Last Fall our main trim and hardware supplier raised prices by 25%. We clearly can't do that, so we've been forced to start buying the same items directly from China at 1/4 the price (including shipping!) rather than support a local biz.

Mar. 22 2011 11:35 AM

isnt the current rate of inflation 2%??

Mar. 22 2011 10:43 AM
MFan from Brooklyn

As bad as inflation might be here, real or perceived, we should be glad at least that we are not Argentina.

I just returned from a month-long trip there and prices of food, housing, and services have nearly doubled in the last three years, the last time I was there. The government admits to 10%, but the real rate has been calculated closer to 30%.

So --- could be worse :)

Mar. 22 2011 10:25 AM

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