U.S. hits 30-year inflation high; how it affects consumer spending


Jason Ryan, Staff

Buckle Up: 3 Reasons Why Inflation Is Rising

Americans are paying more for consumer goods during the biggest surge in U.S. inflation in more than 30 years.

Header Image: Forbes

Americans across the country are seeing higher prices at grocery stores and gas stations, causing  even more pain for their wallets and pocketbooks right as the holiday shopping season is set to commence. 

Data released by the Labor Department earlier this week indicates inflation has risen at its highest rate in over three decades. Consumer prices soared by 6.2 percent compared to the same period last year. This is the biggest one-year jump seen in the government’s consumer price index since 1990.

The increase in prices is surpassing wage gains and forcing Americans to dedicate a bigger share of their income to necessities such as food and gas. In particular, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data: meat, chicken, dairy, eggs, sugar and coffee are among the products that have seen especially large price gains in the past year. 

Additionally, in the past year, energy costs have jumped a stunning 30 percent, with gasoline soaring by nearly 50 percent. A gallon of gas, on average, was $3.42 nationwide on Tuesday, according to AAA — up from $2.11 a year ago. The energy index climbed by some 4.8 percent last month alone and the gasoline index gained 6.1 percent. This marks the fifth consecutive monthly increase in gasoline prices.

Prices for natural gas and heating oil are also on the rise. For instance, the Energy Information Administration has predicted that Americans could spend up to 30 percent more on natural gas and 43 percent more on heating oil this coming winter. 

Economists predict high inflation will subside sometime next year once the widespread shortages of supply and labor begin to ease, but it’s very unclear how much or how quickly price pressures will fade. In the meantime, inflation will continue to eat up American households in terms of consumer spending. 

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