Making Hard Choices: Americans Are Coping With High Prices for Essential Items

Tags: Currents Family, Media, World News

Currents News Staff

At a grocery store in Northeast D.C. and across the country, shoppers are more than a little fed-up with food prices.

“You know it’s hard,” one shopper said. “You know it’s hard trying to balance what you need and what you want.”

According to new government figures, annual inflation did ease-off a bit last month, but is still near a 40-year high. Prices are rising 8.3-percent for the year ending in April, slightly lower than the 8.5-percent rise in March.

Food was one of the biggest factors, along with shelter. In just a month, meat, poultry, fish and eggs went up 1.4-percent – with eggs, by themselves, spiking 10.3-percent.

“Yeah it would be the eggs,” one shopper said. “Because a while ago they were very cheap.”

And housing costs for renters and owners went up .5-percent for the third month in a row. Consumers are taking a big hit – each month.

“The typical American household is spending $450 more now than a year ago to buy the same goods and services,” said Mark Zandi, Chief Economist with Moody’s Analytics. “And that’s because of the higher inflation. So this is incredibly painful.”

Gas prices dipped last month, but are now back to setting records: the national average for regular at $4.40 a gallon. That’s up $1.40 since a year ago.

“Every day you walk by- I mean drive by, it’s one price,” said one driver. “And within a matter of hours, it’ll jump up again.”

But on the bright side, one economist says there could be relief in sight.

“Inflation is peaking,” Mark said. “I think the high inflation, the painfully high inflation is due to the pandemic and to the Russian invasion. If those things don’t go off the rails then I think we will see inflation lower by the end of the year and certainly by this time next year.”