Inflation hits 40-year high in the United States

The Labor Department reported on Wednesday, Jan. 12 that inflation has risen to its highest throughout the last four decades, increasing consumer prices by 7% compared to last year. Cedar City residents and Southern Utah University students have felt these effects at the grocery stores, gas pumps, and more.

After the Labor Department released this report, President Biden acknowledged the issue and claimed his administration was “making progress in slowing the rate of price increases.”

Consumer prices rose 0.5% in the month of December after increasing 0.8% in November, but the Consumer Price Index indicated that the annual increase in goods and services was the highest since 1982.

With the dramatic increase of automobile and furniture prices, consumers are looking at a 37.3% increase on used cars and a 17.3% increase on furnishings. 

Gas prices fell 0.5% in December but food prices countered the drop with a 0.5% increase. However, gas prices increased annually by 49.6%.

Experts like Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, suggest the national average of gas prices will increase to $4 a gallon in 2022. 

“We could see a national average that flirts with, or in a worst-case scenario, potentially exceeds $4 a gallon,” De Haan told CNN.

In addition to gas, other national averages include a 6.3% increase in food prices and a 4.1% increase in shelter costs. 

Stores nationwide have been impacted by the ongoing shortages due to the supply chain crisis, labor shortages and the new omicron variant of COVID.

Albertsons’ CEO Vivek Sankaran talked with analysts about the company’s shortages due to the supply chain on Tuesday, Jan. 11. 

“I think as a business, we’ve all learned to manage it,” Sankaran said. “We’ve all learned to make sure that the stores are still very presentable, give the consumers as much choice as we can get.”

With inflation increasing and President Biden’s approval ratings plummeting, consumers blame the Administration for the increase of goods and services. 

Earlier this week, #BareShelvesBiden trended on Twitter as shoppers posted pictures of empty store shelves. 

A Quinnipiac poll found that voters were most frustrated with inflation prices and the all-time high COVID-19 cases, both issues Biden promised to take control over during his presidential election campaign. 

Although Utah was one of the top states regarding economic growth in 2021, inflation rates could wipe out local businesses and challenge economic recovery which Cedar City already struggled with during the height of the COVID pandemic.

Article by: Lexi Hamel

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash