Americans should brace themselves for several years of higher inflation than they’ve seen in decades, according to economists who expect the robust post-pandemic economic recovery to fuel brisk price increases for a while.
Economists surveyed this month by The Wall Street Journal raised their forecasts of how high inflation would go and for how long, compared with their previous expectations in April.
The respondents on average now expect a widely followed measure of inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy components, to be up 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2021 from a year before. They forecast the annual rise to recede to slightly less than 2.3% a year in 2022 and 2023.
That would mean an average annual increase of 2.58% from 2021 through 2023, putting inflation at levels last seen in 1993.
“We’re in a transitional phase right now,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economics LLC. “We are transitioning to a higher period of inflation and interest rates than we’ve had over the last 20 years.”