The “Looking Glass” examines economic and real estate trends through two distinct lenses: the “glass half full” of optimists and the “glass half empty” of pessimists.
Buzz: With inflation at its highest level in 40 years – an ugly 8.6% nationally – you’d think everything was more expensive. In fact, 93% of the 333 items tracked in the monthly inflation report were more expensive in May than a year ago.
Source: My trusty spreadsheet looked at the latest consumer price index for May, looking at 12-month price changes.
glass half full
Well, 93% isn’t 100%, so here are eight goods and services that government inflation statistics show could be “bargains”. This is probably a rare slice of the economy where consumer demand is down.
1. Smartphones tops this chart at 19.9% cheaper in one year. I guess there’s a company that hasn’t released a killer new product in a few years. So people are not rushing to buy a new cell phone, traders are reducing prices accordingly.
2. Admission to Sporting Events is 10.8% cheaper. Many teams are still suffering from the hangovers of the pandemic shutdowns. Logic says ticket deals are being offered to draw fans to the ballpark or arena.
3. Televisions are 9.5% cheaper. Everyone bought a new TV — maybe even two — during pandemic lockdowns. With a “return to somewhat normal life,” outdoor lifestyles seem like a better investment. And I wonder, many new TVs do you need?
4. Cruise fares are 5.3% cheaper. I’m going to ask a simple question: “Who wants to be stuck in tight quarters with lots of strangers?” Cruises are not at the top of the popularity list these days.
5. Computer software and accessories are 3.9% cheaper. As more workers and students return to the office or classroom, I guess the need to upgrade or add software to one’s personal computers is decreasing.
6. Other intercity transport – meaning trains and buses, not planes – is down 3.6%. Let’s say again, crowded conditions are not popular. Operators must incentivize customers through price.
7. Men’s pants and shorts are 1.6% cheaper. I guess the guys working in the office probably just dusted off the clothes they hadn’t worn in two years.
8. Jewelry is 1.2% cheaper. I’ve read that millennials are less interested in expensive accessories than previous generations. Maybe they spend all their money buying new houses or the high rent in luxury apartments.
Glass half empty
Of those 333 goods and services tracked by the CPI, 39% of all goods and services tracked jumped 10% or more in the 12 months to May.
Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be contacted at email@example.com
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Post expires at 11:26pm on Friday June 24th, 2022