Consumers feeling budget pinch despite low inflation

WASHINGTON — Household budgets may be feeling the sting of some less-publicized price hikes.

The prices of many services — like cable, car insurance and dental checkups — are rising at a steady clip even as the cost of many items falls,  the Wall Street Journal reports.

While a bottle of wine at a store now costs slightly less than it did five years ago, the cost of having it served to you at a restaurant is up 12 percent over the same period.

A new suit costs about 4 percent less, but getting it dry cleaned will set you back about 9 percent more. The price of a new television has dropped nearly 60 percent as cable subscription prices have risen 14 percent.

The drop in the price of goods has led to a low overall inflation rate, masking the rise in the price of services. Higher labor costs and a lack of foreign competition in the service industry likely factor into the service price hikes.

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