Inflation is officially here, according to new statistics from the Department of Labor. The wholesale cost of finished goods increased 1.8 percent in June. That's the fastest year-over-year increase since 1981.
Wholesale cost increases in energy as well as food for humans and pets are fueling the inflation uptick. Consumer foods, which include pet food, were up 1.5 percent. Pet food alone was up 6 percent from May. Natural gas was up 3.8 percent from the previous month, and unleaded regular gasoline was up 9 percent. Prices for milk, soybeans, eggs, and fresh vegetables also rose after seeing a cost decrease in May.
Consumers appear to be feeling the pinch and hanging onto their dollars and cents in response. The Commerce Department reported that retail sales were up just 0.1 percent in June. Analysts blamed the auto market for weak growth. Also, The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index hit an all-time low in June.