FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Inflation continues to increase the prices on necessary items and the spike has been climbing over the year at rates the country hasn’t seen before. The consumer price index has been released and shows how the Midwest compares to national percentages.

Overall for the Midwest, it was an 8.6% increase year over year, and 8.5% nationally.

Rachel Blakeman, the director of the community research institute at Purdue Fort Wayne, says this is not similar to years prior. She says that the goal for inflation by the federal reserve bank is a 2% year over year increase. Blakeman says in many ways that’s an invisible increase as opposed to the sticker shock consumers are currently seeing.

Blakeman says no one is escaping price increases at this point, it’s more a matter of how much you are able to absorb without other costs. She says that this rate should not continue for years to come.

The cost increase in food and groceries over the last year most of the time has nothing to do with the food itself.

Alcoholic beverages3.7%2.3%
Natural gas21.6%26.3%
Chart comparing national increases to Midwest increases

“The past two years have been incredibly financially challenging for many people and families. Back in April 2020, we were concerned about record unemployment rates while we were starting to see supply chains fray – remember empty shelves for groceries and toilet paper?” said Blakeman. “Fast forward to today, and we have inflation rates we haven’t seen in more than 40 years, hitting necessary items so it’s nearly impossible not to feel the pinch regardless of income level. For households without much budget elasticity, regardless of total income, these increases are hitting hard, and they don’t seem to be letting up any time soon.”

Ben Hoffman is a poultry farmer in Fort Wayne. He said that his prices have increased due to packing products.

“In 2020 and early 2021 I was paying $0.37 for a package that chicken breasts go in. By the end of 2021, that went up to $1.10. It’s frustrating just to put a product in one little package costs $1.10, that’s not even the product, and then the label goes on and you have almost $1.40 for just the way it looks,” Hoffman says.

Hoffman predicts that prices in packing goods will normalize in 2024.