NEW YORK (AFP) –
After years of low, low prices, fed by near-zero interest rates in a convalescing economy, Americans are waking up to costlier consumer living.
Everyday household staples like diapers, toothpaste, shampoo and dishwashing liquid — not to mention soft drinks, cookies, chocolate, cat litter and autos — have all started getting more expensive, a trend expected to continue early next year.
Announced by companies during the most recent earnings season, these price hikes have typically ranged from two percent to 10 percent. They also stand in stark contrast to the usually unending sales and promotions from major retailers like Walmart and Amazon.
The higher prices aim to pad revenues for companies like Apple, which has just raised sticker prices for its new MacBook Air laptops and iPads by 20 percent and 25 percent.
But for a growing number of businesses, they also represent a response to mounting transportation costs. A stronger US dollar is similarly cutting into foreign earnings — while a tight labor supply is at last pushing up wages.