CHICAGO (CBS) — Inflation is at its highest level in 40 years – hitting 9.1% on the year in June, the highest since 1981.
The Consumer Price Index reports that the price of gas has skyrocketed nearly 60% in the past year – and that’s of course far from the only commodity affected.
Meanwhile, a market analyst told CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek that he thinks the cost of living right now is actually worse than the 9.1 figure suggests.
“Less than six months ago, we were paying $13 and change for a crate of eggs,” said Dominique Leach, owner of Lexington Betty Smoke House. “Now I pay $33 for it.
Leach says food isn’t the only aspect of his business affected by inflation.
“We face higher costs for food, labor, rent, gasoline and cooking gas,” Leachs said.
All of this poses big problems for consumers.
“It certainly reflects the pain and the people who can’t take it,” said Jim Iuorio, chief executive of TJM Institutional Services.
Iuorio – a broker, trader and market analyst – says searing inflation means the average American has indeed taken a pay cut. And while reports suggest next year could bring the biggest pay rise in more than a decade at around 4%, Iuorio says to keep up with inflation, that rise should be much bigger.
“I think you could have had a 12% year-on-year pay rise, and it wouldn’t have done anything. Prices have at least gone up,” Iuorio said. “So I think you have to have something more than that to do better in this current environment.”
Iuorio believes that the consumer price index actually underestimates current inflation.
The CPI indicates that food rose 10.4% year-over-year in June. Iuorio estimates that restaurant costs have increased by more than 23-24%, which Leach can attest to.
She says she has done her best not to pass on the rising costs to her customers and does not resort to so-called “shrinkflation” tactics – serving customers less food for the same price. But still, she says it’s hard.
“We do our best to adapt and be flexible so that the client does not see the difficulties on his side,” said Iuorio.
Leach says realistically that she doesn’t want to impose too many additional fees on her clients, because it might turn some people away. She said a customer wrote her a negative review recently after she raised the cost of the chest by $1 – showing what a balancing act it must be for business owners right now.
Also, while it may be tempting given the difficulties of the current economic situation, financial experts advise avoiding payday loans – short-term, high-interest loans that are usually due on the day of your next repair.
Such loans offer a “cash fast” option, but with an average interest rate of 400%, quick cash can send you into a dangerous spiral of debt.
Experts say payday loans should be your very last option, and even personal loans are a better decision.