“My concern is that they overdo it — being too sensitive to wage growth,” Ryan Sweet, who leads real-time economics at Moody’s Analytics, said before the report. “This is not going to be easy.”
Much like policymakers, companies have expressed uncertainty about when today’s rapid price gains will fade.
“I wish I could forecast when this inflation is going to slow down,” Brian Niccol, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s chief executive, told Bloomberg News in an interview this week. “But unfortunately, we’re not getting a sign that it’s going to slow down.”
The economy has been challenging to predict in the aftermath of state and local lockdowns meant to control the pandemic, and as the virus continues to disrupt ordinary economic patterns. On one hand, job openings are plentiful and workers seem to have newfound power in negotiating better pay and conditions. On the other, the rapidity of price increases has come as a constant surprise.
Krystle Brown, 33, and her husband embody many of the hopes and challenges of a complicated economic moment marked by a strong job market and rocketing inflation. They recently bought a condominium in Salem, Mass., driven in part by the belief that if they did not buy now prices would only climb higher.
They will be able to afford their mortgage payment more easily because Ms. Brown, a visual artist, recently got a new and better-paying job. She had been working two — as a cake decorator and a marketing director at a gallery — making about $42,000 a year combined. Now, she’s a marketing assistant at an art museum, making about $50,000 per year.
But even with the higher salary, the couple does not earn a lot for their area, and inflation is making things harder. Groceries cost more, and the rapid run-up in car prices has put Ms. Brown’s hopes of buying a hybrid or electric vehicle on ice.
“There are so many different elements to it,” she said. “And they interact.”