Inflation in the ND Region

Like most regions the West North Central (WNC), which includes North Dakota, experienced inflation over the last year. That’s right, the last year. Let me say plainly, inflation is not a phenomenon of the last month, or even 6 months. Inflation started its current upward ascent in June of 2020 and has not looked back, and only gained momentum.

This region is in the center of the country which poses a few problems, particularly the supply chain. When you hear about all kinds of goods delayed at ports this region is about as far away from those ports as you can be and still be in the country. In short, you are pretty much at the end of the supply chain.

Unfortunately that means the price effects from supply chains disruptions are likely to be greater and last longer. Unfortunately this is how these things work, the wave goes on and on rippling wider and wider. There is of course another issue with prices: the incredibly accommodative stance of policy, particularly monetary policy.

All the political haranguing right now is about fiscal policy and while parts of it may be well founded give no credit to those making the arguments unless they were making them years ago as well. The Fed kept rates low for an incredibly long time, allowing inflationary pressures to build under the surface. I fully understand not wanting to rein in growth and to be wary of causing a crisis, but if raising rates a percentage point over a year will create an economic catastrophe, how strong is the economy then really?

Inflation will be with us into 2022. Why? Is the economy back to normal? I would suggest no, but then the world is not yet back to “normal” and in many ways is unable to move to the next normal right now.

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