The Cost of Living in the United States

April 11, 1935

Report Outline
Reemergence of the Cost of Living Issue
The Cost of Living Issue in the 1920 Campaign
Measurement of Changes in Cost of Living
Recent Increases in Retail Prices of Food
Effects of Price Changes on Purchasing Power
Special Focus

Reemergence of the Cost of Living Issue

Rise in Living Costs Since March, 1933

The Steady Rise during recent months of food prices, rents, and other necessaries has attracted more attention to the cost of living than at any time since 1920, when prices reached an all-time high. According to the best available monthly index, that of the National Industrial Conference Board, which takes 1923 as 100, living costs during March stood at 82.4, an increase of 5.0 per cent over March, 1934, and of 14.8 per cent over March, 1933.

Living costs touched their lowest level of the depression in April, 1933. Except for minor setbacks, they have mounted steadily in the last two years. The rise of 34.6 per cent in food costs has been the sharpest advance.

The general level of retail prices remained about the same in March as in February, but indications are that the advance has been resumed during the present month. Retail gasoline prices were raised three-fourths of a cent a gallon in eastern marketing areas on April 8. Butter prices jumped nearly two cents a pound at Chicago on April 5, following reports that stocks held in warehouses there were the smallest ever recorded. During the first week in April, restaurant prices in New York City were raised 10 per cent, and similar increases were reported in Boston and San Francisco. Chicago restaurants have been gradually raising prices for several weeks, and it is stated that the advances will be continued.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cost of Living and Wages
Apr. 17, 2020  Inequality in America
Sep. 08, 2017  Universal Basic Income
Apr. 08, 2016  Future of the Middle Class
Apr. 18, 2014  Wealth and Inequality
Jan. 24, 2014  Minimum Wage
Jun. 19, 2009  Rethinking Retirement
Mar. 06, 2009  Middle-Class Squeeze
Mar. 14, 2008  Gender Pay Gap
Dec. 16, 2005  Minimum Wage
Sep. 27, 2002  Living-Wage Movement
Apr. 17, 1998  Income Inequality
Oct. 27, 1978  Wage-Price Controls
Jun. 16, 1978  Military Pay and Benefits
Mar. 23, 1966  Rising Cost of Living
Oct. 25, 1961  Price-Wage Restraints in National Emergencies
Jun. 21, 1961  Wage Policy in Recovery
Jun. 11, 1958  Prices and Wages in the Recession
Sep. 18, 1957  Control of Living Costs
Nov. 02, 1955  Wages, Prices, Profits
Jan. 26, 1954  Minimum Wage Raise
Jan. 02, 1954  Cost of Living
Jan. 21, 1953  Guaranteed Annual Wage
Dec. 17, 1952  Future of Price and Wage Controls
Nov. 19, 1951  Fringe Benefits and Wage Stabilization
Dec. 06, 1950  Wage Control
Jun. 13, 1949  Wages in Deflation
Jun. 04, 1947  Guarantees of Wages and Employment
Oct. 29, 1946  Decontrol of Wages
Dec. 01, 1945  Minimum Wages
Sep. 29, 1945  Wage Policy
Oct. 27, 1944  Wage Security
May 17, 1943  Incentive Wage Payments
Aug. 25, 1941  Prices, Profits, and Wage Control
Apr. 28, 1941  Wartime Changes in the Cost of Living
Sep. 21, 1940  Two Years of the Wage-Hour Law
Nov. 01, 1938  Industry and Labor Under the Wage-Hour Act
Jan. 20, 1938  Wage Rates and Workers' Incomes
Apr. 11, 1935  The Cost of Living in the United States
Sep. 01, 1930  Wages and the Cost of Living
May 24, 1930  The Anthracite Wage Agreement
Feb. 20, 1925  Measure of Recovery in Profits and Wages Since 1920–21 Depression