The latest survey results, released Wednesday, show the average prediction is for 2 percent inflation over the coming year. The February average was 1.9, in line with what most economists forecast.
The survey was conducted March 12-16 of 162 firms across the Southeast.
Their rising prediction isn’t prompted by a jump in what they’re having to pay for products and materials they need. The firms said the costs of what they buy has risen 1.8 percent in the last year, about what they reported last month.
However, almost one-third of those surveyed predicted moderate or strong increases in their labor costs over the next 12 months. That could be good news for workers and those out of work.
Other good news came in reports that companies are seeing more money hitting their bottom line.
“According to the businesses surveyed, sales levels and profit margins, though still below normal, have begun to improve. Looking forward, firms expect continued, though modest, improvement in sales and margins over the next year,” according to the Fed’s report.
The Atlanta Fed began the monthly survey in October.