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Economists explain snowball effects in continued inflation crisis

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 8:03 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Americans continue to try and survive the worst inflation in 40 years. Last month, the Department of Labor reported an 8.5% increase in the annual consumer price index.

“This is usually $7.99, and when I got to the cash register and the lady said $11 for the same pack of toilet paper, I was shocked,” Jacksonville resident Emily Fleming said.

President Joe Biden spoke about his goal to attack the supply chain shortages in a speech Tuesday.

Jared Bernstein, White House Economic Advisement Council member, explained the administration’s opinion of how the economy reached this point.

“The pandemic has really wreaked havoc on supply chains so that when people were ordering things or going to the store or even deciding whether to go into the labor market and increase labor supply, there were questions there,” Bernstein said. “At the hands of this pandemic or the likes of which we haven’t seen for over a century.”

Bernstein explained the urge to revive a halted industry, along with drastic increases in prices at the pump, played a large part in record-high inflation numbers.

Petroleum experts say record highs in diesel prices contribute to the continued increase in grocery prices.

“To put it in a nutshell, yes, when gas prices are this high, it’s a huge domino effect,” Tiffany Wright, AAA director of public affairs said.

AAA Carolinas data shows that diesel prices in North Carolina have reached a record average of $5.45 per gallon.

Consumers say the increased prices on the shelves are causing them to adjust how they shop.

“You can’t get it in one bulk shop anymore because the price is too high,” Fleming said. “You have to do things as you run out. Just little by little. When you run out of toilet paper, you have to go ahead and get it at that time.”

Bernstein says the Biden administration expects inflation to slow down its upward trajectory by the end of 2022.

The administration plans to slow the growth of inflation by reducing transportation, reducing food and healthcare costs, reducing the debt deficit, and increasing labor supply.

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