Record-Breaking Inflation: How Tucson Is Impacted

·2 min read

TUCSON, AZ — Inflation jumped in December at its fastest year-over-year pace in nearly four decades, surging 7 percent and raising costs for consumers, offsetting recent wage gains and heightening pressure on President Joe Biden and the Federal Reserve to address what is increasingly Americans' central economic concern.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released Wednesday its December report for the West Region, which includes Arizona. Over the past year, food prices in our region increased by 6.4 percent, the data shows. Meat and eggs went up 14.3 percent.
Gas prices spiked by more than 47 percent over the past year, and electricity rose by 9.4 percent, according to the report.
Prices have spiked during the recovery from the pandemic recession as Americans have ramped up spending on goods such as cars, furniture and appliances. Those increased purchases have clogged ports and warehouses and exacerbated supply shortages of semiconductors and other parts.
Gas prices, while declining a bit from November to December, have surged in the past year, in part because Americans have driven more in recent months after having cut back on travel and commuting earlier in the pandemic.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that excluding volatile food and gas prices, so-called core prices in the U.S. surged 0.6 percent from November to December, slightly more than the 0.5 percent increase from October to November. Measured year over year, core prices jumped 5.5 percent in December, the fastest such increase since 1991.
Rising prices have wiped out the healthy pay increases that many Americans have been receiving, making it harder for households, especially lower-income families, to afford basic expenses. Polls show that inflation has started displacing even the coronavirus as a public concern, making clear the political threat it poses to Biden and congressional Democrats.
A significant portion of consumer inflation is still being driven by pandemic-driven mismatches between demand and supply. Used car costs rose 3.5 percent from November to December and have soared more than 37 percent compared with a year ago. With new car production restrained by shortages of semiconductors, consumers have snapped up used cars, forcing up their costs.
Shortages at U.S. grocery stores have also grown more acute in recent weeks as new problems, such as the omicron variant and severe weather, have compounded the supply chain struggles and labor shortages that have plagued retailers since the coronavirus pandemic erupted.
Facing public discontent over the rise in inflation, Biden has said his administration's investments in ports, roads, bridges and other infrastructure would help ease inflation by loosening some snarled supply chains.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the Tucson Patch

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