Inflation is Tame Overall, But Don’t Buy a Used Car or Try to Eat Out

The funny thing about prices is that they tend to fall for things we don’t want and go up for stuff we’d like to own. That sort of buying pressure is clouding the picture on inflation, where the official numbers make everything look great.

Overall, U.S. consumers paid just a bit more for goods and services last month, up just 0.2%, which sounds great after we saw prices shoot up for food over the summer, while other prices dropped.

The government considers modest inflation a good sign that demand is returning. In a way, that’s correct.

Food prices dipped for items we buy to use at home, but try eating out. Prices in restaurants increased the more last month than they have in 12 years. And if you’re in the market for a car, either step up for a new one or be prepared to wait, as prices for used cars and trucks increased at the fastest pace last month since 1969.

Prices remain low for airline tickets, but it’s not like people are clamoring for those right now.

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