By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Prices on things like food and fuel have been rising lately showing there could be an increase in demand for both goods and services.

Courtney Rennier started working for Instacart because of reduced hours at her freelance job during the COVID pandemic and she has faced sticker shock at grocery stores.

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“What I’ve noticed with our shopping and shopping for other customers and clients is the price has been going up,” Rennier said.

It’s happening across the country. From fruit – to meat – and paper products, the increases are nearly 10-percent.

“We’ve seen prices in Southern California go up at least 15 days in a row,” said Jeffrey Spring with AAA.

He said the panic buying on the east coast has nothing to do with local gas increases.

“Usually, prices start increasing in March or April when the switch over to from winter blend gas line to summer blend gas line, which increases the price per gallon between 10 to 12 cents,” Spring said.

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Dr. Chris Thornberg is an economist who says stimulus money from the government and an improved job market have fueled increased demand that’s outpaced the supply chain.

“They haven’t healed the economy. They overheated the economy,” Thornberg said. “That’s why goods spending is above trend, because, ‘I can’t go to Disneyland? Let’s buy a camper.’ I mean did anybody try to buy a bicycle last Christmas?”

He said people who worked in hospitality were hit hard by the pandemic but many others kept work without pay cuts like those seen during the Great Recession.

Ruth Gregory, who’s been working from home, actually saw her savings account grow.

“I’ve been spending less on clothes and gas and going out to restaurants and stuff,” she said.

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Thornberg said what we are seeing right now will likely cool off and that it’s also important for the federal reserve to pull back on injecting more cash into an economy that has plenty of job openings to prevent long-term inflation.