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Back to School May Be More Expensive This Year

If you’ve noticed that prices for local retail goods and services are much higher than before, you’re not alone. The latest survey of business leaders and supply managers in Iowa and eight other Midwestern states finds “rampant” inflation driving up prices. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says consumers are having to pay more for a range of products, while hiring levels aren’t yet back to where they were before COVID-19 hit.

The regional economy’s overall performance numbers fell slightly during July, as did Iowa’s figures, though Goss says they’re still strong and show the economy is continuing to expand at a solid pace. Still, he says the inflationary figures are not what we want to see.

As inflation surged, the confidence index dropped to its lowest level in five months. Business leaders in the nine states were asked how those higher prices due to inflation would be reflected in their company’s performance.

On average, the survey found supply managers expect their companies’ prices to rise by another 7.7% over the next 12 months. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average hourly wages for manufacturing production workers in Iowa rose 7.9% over the past 12 months. Goss says that ranks Iowa number-two among the nine Midwestern states.

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