The U.S. Department of Labor released its consumer price index for May which showed the costs of goods and services rose 8.6% compared to last year.
Next to climbing costs, finding and keeping workers is still a challenge for some business owners.
At Burnett's Soul Food in Walnut Hills, manager Keith Burnett stewed over inflation. For his restaurant, buying meat and vegetables is too often a deep-fried disaster.
"You can't really budget because you don't know what it's going to be tomorrow," he said. "Everything is going up, which (means) I'm going to have to increase my prices eventually. Water rolls downhill. So it will go to my customers."
Though labor statistics showed overall job growth and rising wages, Cheriese Lindsey's two cleaning companies need workers. She has a team of three to handle the work of 50 after several quit.
"I've experienced a lot of employees because we all have baggage," Lindsey said. "Trauma is real and the world is waking up to it. A lot of my time has been spent trying to figure out the things that people are having issues with."
Lindsey joined one of several groups involved in workforce improvement research led by Cohear, an engagement and strategy company founded by Dani Isaacshon. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Ohio Means Jobs, Ohio Job and Family Services, the Workforce Innovation Center and Nationwide Children's Hospital each wanted ideas to solve problems hiring and retaining employees.
Using a mix of managers like Lindsey and people looking for work, Cohear released a report with recommendations. It found that treating workers better is key for employers. Employees involved wanted affordable child care options around work hours. Also, they called for companies to invest more in employees through certificate programs and paths to real authority and equity within organizations.
"I think about someone who talked to us about how she was earning $14 an hour and she didn't take a $21 an hour job because she was going to lose child care," Isaacshon said. "Well, you can imagine if there was an employer offering her $17 an hour and good child care. She's going to take it in a heartbeat.
Despite pressure, Burnett believes better days lie ahead.
"I'm very optimistic," he said. "All I can do is hope and pray that things will change."