JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Inflation is at a four-decade high and that’s causing problems for local families and businesses. Many people are paying more than ever before for gas, groceries, and other essential items.
The Browns are among the Jacksonville families feeling the price hikes. Their trip to the grocery store Friday cost more than usual. “Five bags and spent almost 50 bucks, just on little things,” Kim Brown said. “We spent about 80 bucks a couple days ago and it still didn’t get to full.”
She said it’s causing her and her husband to watch their finances closer. “We’re trying to stay with a budget, but it’s kind of hard,” she noted. “Especially when you have two small kids. You have to balance everything out.”
It’s not just gas and groceries. Inflation means you’re likely paying much more all across-the-board. At the Cookbook Restaurant in Springfield, owner Brandon Byers is feeling the heat.
“It can definitely be a challenge for standing through the pandemic and now inflation with prices of produce, meat, chicken is through the roof, lamb is crazy,” Byers said.
Byers opened the popular soul food eatery 5-years-ago, following in the footsteps of his parents who ran a grocery store in Jacksonville for 45 years.
He said many foods are double in price and some of those hikes mean menu items will cost a bit more.
“We’ve actually had to make adjustments to our menu as well to take some items off that are just too expensive to sell for an everyday type of mom-and-pop restaurant,” he said. “In certain cases, we definitely have to change the menu prices. Posting and making our customers aware that we are changing, adding signs on the inside of the restaurant, saying there’s inflation in the prices of meat, maybe seafood, crab meat is through the roof right now.”
The costs of gas, food and other necessities jumped in May, raising inflation to a new four-decade high and giving American households no respite from rising costs. Consumer prices surged 8.6% last month from 12 months earlier, faster than April’s year-over-year surge of 8.3%. On a month-to-month basis, prices jumped 1% from April to May, a steep rise from the 0.3% increase from March to April. Much higher gas prices were to blame for most of that increase. America’s rampant inflation is imposing severe pressures on families, forcing them to pay much more for food, gas and rent and reducing their ability to afford discretionary items, from haircuts to electronics.
With rent and home prices spiking, families living paycheck to paycheck are most affected.
Surveys show that Americans see high inflation as the nation’s top problem, and most disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy. Congressional Republicans are hammering Democrats on the issue in the run-up to midterm elections this fall.
Some evidence in recent weeks had suggested that inflation might be moderating, particularly for long-lasting goods that were caught up in supply chain snarls and shortages last year. But that trend appeared to reverse itself in May, with used car prices rising 1.8% after having dropped for three straight months.
New car prices also rose, a consequence of auto production remaining hamstrung by shortages of semiconductors.