PHOENIX — Consumers are feeling the brunt of rising prices and nowhere is that truer than here in the Valley.
The Phoenix metro region posted the highest spike in prices of any major metropolitan area tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, rising by 10.9% in March. It takes a toll on families and lifestyles.
Mercedes Vargas, a shopper, said, “It’s very hard, especially I see a lot of people, they have kids, it’s even harder on them.”
Another shopper, Mary Heimann, says she goes to the food bank every week because they have fresh vegetables and “stuff I can’t necessarily afford.”
Staples in the western United States continue to rise. The average price of milk is up 81 cents from $3.39 to $4.20. A pound of ground beef averages almost $6 — up 79 cents from last March. In all, grocery items are up about 10%.
Metro areas in the United States where inflation rose 10% in March from 2021 are all in the U.S. sunbelt and have recently experienced strong population growth combined with booming housing markets. Jim Round, an economist in Phoenix said that this pattern is typical when comparing inflation numbers in metro areas.
“High growth, stronger economies would typically have a little bit more pressure in these economic imbalances,” Rounds said. “So when you have workforce shortages, it’s exacerbated in a community that’s growing more rapidly.”
Rounds expects that an economic recession is not far off since he says the Federal Reserve will now have to take more drastic action to tackle inflation than if they had started raising rates last year.
But there is a little hope. Since prices began to take off in April of 2021, the next month’s release of the consumer price index may see inflation numbers start to level off.
Also, gas prices, a major driver of inflation numbers, are beginning to cool which has a ripple effect on other goods and services.
Recent inflation rates compared to monthly increases that rose above 5% in May 1973 and continued above 5% until October 1982