US food prices are finally easing—but not if you’re eating out

It's still hard to find workers in the restaurant industry
Image: Marco Bello (Reuters)
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Grocery prices are still up a lot—12.4% year-over-year in the US in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

But the decline in commodity prices such as wheat and corn, due in part to the easing of pandemic-related supply chain snags, is making its way to the supermarket. The rate of change in grocery prices finally decreased in October after a steep climb up.

Meanwhile, eating out keeps getting more expensive

Eating out was never cheap, but now it’s even worse. Restaurant prices continue to rise, with the rate of growth increasing from 8.5% to 8.6%, according to BLS data. Blame the continued tightness in the US labor market. Restaurant workers’ wages continue to increase, as employers increase pay to recruit and retain staff.

The restaurant industry has long had high turnover rates, and the pandemic made them particularly acute. But since mid-2020, workers have had more leverage and could shop around to find better jobs.