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Originally published December 3 2014

Price of ground beef continues to break new records

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Consumption of meat certainly is not for everyone, but hamburger meat is consumed by tens of millions of Americans every day, and when the cost of this staple item rises, it affects the pocketbooks of millions of families, many of which are already having trouble making ends meet.

In the Obama economy especially, ground beef prices have risen steadily; the average price now stands at $4.156 per pound in the country as of October, according to recently released data from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

As reported by, in August the average ground beef price -- for all types -- topped $4.00 a pound for the first time ever, to peak at $4.013, BLS figures show. The following month, prices rose $0.083 to $4.096 per pound, or a jump of 2.1 percent in a 30-day period.

Highest prices since 1947

As further noted:

In October, which is the latest data from the BLS, the average price for a pound of ground beef ($4.156) increased 1.4 percent from September.

A year ago, in October 2013, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $3.389 per pound. Since then, it has climbed 76.5 cents, or about 22.6 percent in one year.

Five years ago, in October 2009, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $2.177, according to the BLS. The price has since climbed by $1.977 per pound, or 90.8 percent.

The general Consumer Price Index is a measurement of the relative change in the prices of a basket of goods and services, pegged to a basis of 100. Underlying indexes also measure relative changes in pricing for categories of goods and services as well as individual goods and services.

For seasonally adjusted uncooked ground beef, the price index rose to an all-time high of 292.588 in October, which was a 1 percent increase over the previous month when the measure was 289.685.

To put that in historical perspective, in 1947 -- the earliest year on this index -- the measure was 26.5.

"The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in October on a seasonally adjusted basis," said the Nov. 20 BLS report. "Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.7 percent before seasonal adjustment."

"The all items index increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months, the same increase as for the 12 months ending September," the report says. "The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.8 percent over the span, and the food index rose 3.1 percent."

Fuel prices also affect beef prices

Further, the report notes, "The food index rose 0.1 percent in October, its smallest increase since June. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which had been rising sharply in recent months, declined 0.4 percent. The beef and veal index rose 0.3 percent, but the indexes for pork, poultry, and eggs all declined."

One of the factors controlling the price of beef is availability; in 2012, a year of extreme drought over much of the Farm Belt, a number of cattle herds were lost, sold or butchered because farmers could not feed them. Hay was scarce and grass was even scarcer.

Another element to cost has been sustained high gasoline and diesel prices. Fuel is used to bring beef (and all commodities, products and services) to market, so the higher the fuel prices, the higher the cost of the products and services.

In recent weeks, fuel prices have begun to decline, finally, thanks in large part to record oil production in the United States. But as holiday, and then spring, driving seasons begin, prices have historically risen, despite availability or demand.


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