Record high beef prices hitting millions of Americans in the wallet

Taking a bite out of a juicy steak or burger is going to take a bigger bite out of your wallet.

The price of ground beef for a basic burger has soared to an all-time high, up 25 percent in just a few years.  Analysts say retail beef prices will likely rise 4 or 5 percent this year from $2.87 a pound to $3.55 a pound.  Steak is up 14 percent to more than $6.00 a pound. This follows a 10% increase last year, further stretching consumers still coping with high unemployment and modest wage increases.

One reason is the severe drought in the southern plains has pushed the number of cattle to its lowest levels in 50 years. The Agriculture Department reports there are about 91 million herd of cattle in this country, down 2 percent from a year ago and at the lowest level since 1952.

You can also blame the price spike on exports to other countries where demand is high, jumping 11 percent since last year.

Analysts predict beef prices will keep sizzling well into summer.

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