U.S. private sector employees needed more time to save enough money to buy used and new cars last year as vehicle prices ballooned faster than wages grew, a study by consulting firm Anderson Economic Group concluded.
The Consumer Price Index — a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics measurement of the average change over time in prices paid by consumers for an assortment of goods and services — soared 37 percent for used vehicles in December 2021 compared with December 2020, according to findings released Thursday by Anderson. New-vehicle prices shot up 12 percent over that same time period.
Those price surges have been exacerbated by a combination of high consumer demand for vehicles and parts shortages that have constrained new-car production and put pressure on dealership inventory levels. And average weekly earnings for all private sector jobs in the U.S. in 2021 grew at a pace that couldn't keep up with the surges — from $1,035 in December 2020 to $1,085 in December 2021, an increase of about 4.9 percent, according to Anderson's analysis.