Rising commodities costs hit Americans at home and on road

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FILE - In this April 29, 2020 file photo, a worker restocks chicken in the meat product section at a grocery store in Dallas. Rising prices for a variety of commodities are contributing to a jump in prices at the consumer level in 2021, with Americans paying more for meat, gasoline, items they keep in their homes and even the homes themselves. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

NEW YORK – Rising prices for a variety of commodities are contributing to a jump in prices at the consumer level, with Americans paying more for meat, gasoline, items they keep in their homes and even the homes themselves.

The government said Wednesday that consumer prices surged 0.8% in April from March, while the year-over-year rise was the fastest since 2008.

Prices for corn, grain and soybeans are at their highest since 2012; the price of lumber is at an all-time high.

Many factors are playing into the price hikes. As the economy strengthens, demand for products is outpacing manufacturers’ ability to produce enough supply of the raw materials. Many manufacturers are still understaffed as employment lags the broader economic recovery. Companies are also paying more for shipping as fuel costs rise and ports experience longer delays because of congestion.

CONSUMER GOODS

Everyday consumer items are about to get more expensive as the building blocks of those products become pricier.

Higher costs for polyethylene, wood pulp, refined sugar and milled grains don’t immediately resonate with consumers. But they mean higher price tags at checkout for toilet paper, breakfast cereals, diapers and just about anything in a plastic container.

Consumers have been warned: Cheerios maker General Mills is considering raising prices on its products as grain, sugar and other ingredients become more expensive. Hormel Foods has already increased prices for Skippy peanut butter and its turkey products. Soda giant Coca-Cola has said it expects to raise prices to offset higher costs.