Food costs in NJ experience biggest jump since 1987
You're not crazy; your total at the cash register is much higher than it used to be.
And new figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal just how much more you're paying for common purchases.
Compared to March 2021, the consumer price index increased by 6.1% in March 2022 in the New York Metropolitan area: Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Union counties.
"That's noteworthy because we haven't seen an increase like that since back in the time of the Gulf War, since 1991," Bruce Bergman, regional economist for BLS, told New Jersey 101.5.
The 1.3% jump in prices since February 2022 is the biggest one-month jump for the region since 2005, Bergman added. Much of that spike is linked to gasoline prices, which have come down a bit for Garden State drivers in recent days.
Food prices in the region are up 8% compared to a year ago, the statistics show. Specifically, the cost of food you'd buy at the supermarket jumped 9.4% in a year's time — the largest year-over-year increase since June 1987.
"The top of the line is meats, poultry, fish and eggs. That was up about 14% over the year," Bergman said.
The category of cereals and bakery products experienced an increase of more than 11% since last March.
Bergman noted that price increases don't originate at the consumer level — many commodities have increased largely in price at the producer level. For the 12 months ended in March, final demand prices moved up 11.2% for producers, according to a separate new report from BLS.
Price increases are not expected to be a regular monthly occurrence. The cost of dairy and related products, for example, is up 3.3% from a year ago, but it's down half a percent from a month ago. Used cars and trucks cost 37% more than a year ago, but 2% less than a month ago.