San Diego County

If It Seems Like Everything Has Gotten More Expensive, You're Onto Something

Production slowed during the pandemic to match demand, but now that demand is ramping up again supply needs time to recover, and that's one reason why we're seeing higher prices for certain goods, according to a San Diego economist

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San Diegans are no strangers to high costs of living, but it seems prices for just about everything have gone up. You may have noticed it at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, or even surfboard shops.

Right in time for summer pool season, a nationwide shortage of chlorine tablets are sending prices through the roof. Jeff O'Neill, manager of The Pool Store in Lemon Grove, said chlorine tablets have tripled in price.

Industry analysts say construction of residential pools went up more than 20% last year. Then fire tore through a chemical plant in Louisiana that makes most of the country's tablet supply.

Price tags at the grocery store are another example. If you plan on grilling out, prepare to pay more for your meats. Chicken breasts and wings are in short supply. Costco reported a 20% spike in meat prices over the past month.

Alejandro Gutierrez, the manager at Hilltop Market in Sherman Heights, said they're trying to keep prices down but can only do so much.

"The supplier is obviously charging us more," Gutierrez said. "So if we're getting charged our regular rate then obviously we will be providing that to our customers."

University of San Diego economist Dr. Alan Gin broke the recent trends down simply.

"At the depth of the recession caused by the pandemic economic activity was low, and as a result of that suppliers then faced declining orders, and so they kind of ramped down their activity," Gin explained. "So it needs time to build back up those supply chains."

And here's just one more way inflation is making it tough for San Diegans: The National Association of Home Builders says rising lumber prices -- because of tariffs and production shutdowns -- have added more than $35,000 to the price of an average new, single-family home.

Experts say the effects of short supply and high demand on prices of everyday goods could continue as post-pandemic life inches closer.

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