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Shoppers prepare to recalculate budgets as inflation hits 40-year high

Posted at 8:32 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 20:32:03-05

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Rising prices in the U.S. push a key inflation measure to its highest level in 40 years.

The Consumer Price Index jumped 7.9% over the 12-month period that ended in February, the sharpest spike since 1982. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the numbers Thursday.

Gas, food and housing prices drove the surge, but Cincinnati-based analysts say those numbers do not capture the increase drivers are beginning to see at the pump.

Thursday’s report said fruits and vegetable prices rose 2.3%, the largest increase in the grocery category. That’s the largest monthly spike since 2010.

Springfield Township shoppers say they’re being more strategic now.

“I shop at multiple stores to try to save, but you see, the price going [is] going up everywhere,” Christina Achoe said.

Achoe said she has to provide for a family of seven.

“I have trimmed my budget just as much as I can trim it, and I’m still paying quite a bit more than I was a while ago,” Achoe said.

Bahl & Gaynor Portfolio Manager and Vice President Jim Russel said U.S. families will have to make a "very difficult decision...before too much longer."

Russell said the Federal Reserve meets next week. Members are tasked with keeping inflation under control.

“One of the tools that they have is utilizing higher interest rates, and it does appear that they’re going to pull that lever,” Russell said.

The goal would be to deter people from borrowing. If they spend less, demand falls and that forces prices down.

“Frankly, all bets are off regarding inflation going down any time soon,” Russell said. “I think that the surge in oil prices, the surge in gasoline prices and also continued problems with the supply chain will tend to keep inflation at an elevated pace for some time. I think a lot centers on how the war develops.”