The latest data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis show that the cost of some school supplies is becoming increasingly competitive with other purchases, including textbooks, computer software, gym equipment and sports equipment.
The data shows that the price of a typical textbook in 2018 was $1,624, while a computer with two cores was $7,872.
The same year, a computer could be had for $1.35 million.
The price of one of those two-core computers was $6,632, according to the Fed data.
The school supplies prices, which have been trending upward for several years, were a surprise to some economists, who predicted that the prices would drop after the election.
The election has fueled inflationary fears that some parents would not be able to afford to pay the full price of school supplies.
But the prices for school supplies are still going up.
The cost of a two-socket computer with a 64GB hard drive, a laptop and a pair of headphones has climbed from $3,700 in 2018 to $3.7 million in 2019, the data shows.
That makes for an inflationary price increase of more than 10 percent.
“These prices continue to increase, which suggests that there is some inflationary pressure on supplies,” said David Wechsler, chief economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
“The higher prices reflect higher supply and a larger portion of school budgets being spent on supplies.”
The inflationary pressures are still real, but they’re being felt most acutely by parents,” said Wechsolller, who co-authored a report on the inflationary trends with fellow economists at the University of Michigan.
The Fed data shows the price hikes are driven largely by the price increase for textbooks, computers and gym equipment.
Prices of school materials have gone up by more than 100 percent since 1999, according a separate Fed report.
The rise in prices has prompted some parents to purchase school supplies at a discount, raising the cost for other items in the school supply chain.
For example, a school supply store in New York City sold a computer for $8,000 a year ago, but today it is $788, said Michael Shurkin, senior analyst at the school purchasing group for the Fed.
That means the average price for a computer has increased about 5 percent each year.
And while some of that is due to the rise in the cost, most of it is a result of the price inflation, Shurkins said.