Prior to June, the average cost of 100% ground beef in the United States had never topped $3.00.
In January 1984, the first month BLS tracked the price off 100% ground beef, the price was $1.29 per pound. Had that price merely tracked the rate of overall inflation, according to the BLS inflation calculator, it would have risen to $2.66 per pound by 2009, when President Obama took office. However, between 1984 and 2009, the average price for a pound of 100% ground beef did not increase as much as overall inflation. Thus, in January 2009, when Obama was inaugurated it was only $2.357.
Since January 2009, the average price for a pound of 100% ground beef would have risen to only $2.52 per pound--if it had tracked the overall rate of inflation. However, the price of 100% ground beef has outpaced overall inflation in the past three and a half years--hitting July's record price of approximately $3.09.
The average price for a pound of 100% ground chuck hit a record $3.449 in July--up from $1.821 in January 1980.xls (when BLS started tracking it) and $2.961 in January 2009, when Obama took office. Between January 1980 and January 2009, the price of ground chuck grew at a slower pace than overall inflation. Had it kept pace with overall inflation during that period it would have been $4.74 in January 2009 instead of just $2.961.
Since January 2009, the price of ground chuck has outpaced overall inflation. Had it tracked overall inflation, it would be $3.16 per pound now instead of approximately $3.45.
The BLS started tracking the price of lean and extra lean ground beef in 1991. Between then and January 2009, its price rose at the same rate as overall inflation, climbing from $2.184 per pound to $3.426. But since January 2009, the average price for a pound of lean or extra lean ground beef has outpaced overall inflation--rising from$3.426 to $4.118.
Had the price of lean and extra lean ground beef simple tracked overall inflation since January 2009, it would now be approximately $3.66 per pound.
The BLS started tracking the average price of all uncooked ground beef in January 1998. Between then and January 2009, this price grew faster than overall inflation, climbing from $1.846 to $3.157. Had the price of all uncooked ground beef risen at the same pace as inflation during that period, it would have been only $2.43 in January 2009.
Since January 2009, the growth in the average price of all uncooked ground beef has continued to outpace inflation. Had it grown at the pace of inflation it would have been $3.37 in July--instead of the $3.747 that BLS reported on Wednesday.