CAYCE, SC (WIS) – The headaches in the grocery aisle and at the petrol pump continue across the Midlands, with many feeling the pinch of inflation.
According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released this week, overall food prices are up more than 10% year over year. This represents the largest annual increase in more than 40 years.
Some experts believe relief may be on the horizon.
“If we look forward to the second half of the year, it’s likely we’ll see some relief from inflation,” said Joey Von Nessen, a research economist at the University of South Carolina. “We will see that it will start to come down in the second half of the year because, going forward, the Federal Reserve has been very clear that they are going to be aggressive in raising rates. of interest to curb this inflation.”
However, Von Nessen warns that this would be a months-long, not weeks-long process.
For buyers like Dewitt Cooper Jr., that relief can’t come soon enough. He said that in his 75 years he had never seen grocery prices like this.
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“It makes me feel like my country is letting me down, the greatest country in the world and we shouldn’t have to squeeze any pennies,” he said.
Cooper is a retired veteran, but he said he was considering getting a part-time job just to get by.
As prices continue to climb, Von Nessen said many families have more money in their checking accounts thanks to extra savings set aside in the first two years of the pandemic, thanks in part to stimulus checks .
“As consumers spend their excess cash reserves, we will see aggregate demand fall, which will also affect the rate of inflation and help moderate it, again, in the second half of the year.”
This in turn could mean lower prices.
But meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the cost of eggs is up 33% from the same time last year, chicken up nearly 20%, milk up 16% and fruits and vegetables costing 8% more.
“I have a loaf of bread in this bag, and I have three peaches in this bag, and my receipt says $8.37,” Cooper said. “I mean it’s ridiculous. And don’t make me start talking about gas and medical supplies and rent and consumer debt and all that. I mean it’s just ridiculous.
According to AAA, a gallon of gasoline costs $4.01 a gallon in Colombia as of Thursday. This price has fallen nearly 60 cents in the past month. However, Midlands residents are still paying more than a dollar more per gallon at the pump than a year ago.
Marcea Mickens, a Columbia resident and mother of three, said those costs are proving to be a barrier for herself and her family.
“When is it going to stop?” she says. “Gas is so expensive. It’s like I barely feel like getting up and going to work, moving the truck I’m driving because the gas is so high. I don’t even feel like stopping at the store most of the time because I know I have to pump that fuel so high that ultimately our cars have to move. It’s like we can’t control it, but if we come together as a community, I think we can control it.
Mickens said that due to inflation, she turned to coupons to find deals.
“God blessed me with this talent,” she said.
The new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that the index for all items rose 9.1% for the 12 months ending in June, the biggest year-on-year increase since November 1981.
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