SALT LAKE CITY — A new report from a congressional study released this week found that Utah and the Mountain West is being hit the hardest by recent inflation.
Inflation rates jumped 7% in the last year, the biggest increase since 1982.
The study from the Congressional Joint Economic Committee shows that, on average, Utah families are spending $511 more per month than they did compared to the same time last year.
“That’s one of the challenging and frustrating things about inflation is that it tends to hit those who have the least the hardest,” said Phil Dean, Public Finance Senior Research Fellow at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.
The study found, the Mountain West is experiencing the highest inflation in the country with an annual rate of 9.0 percent, largely driven by rising home and rent prices.
Dean says inflation here in Utah can really be seen in the housing market.
He says home prices are up 30%, while rent, is about 10-15% higher on a year over year basis.
“We have a mismatch between supply and demand, we haven’t built enough houses for the number of families that we have,” said Dean.
Dean points to other areas, like the price of meat, which he says are up 20%.
He says right now, people will need to be conscious about what they spend their money on.
“Sometimes they’re going to have, you know, maybe get something that they don’t like quite as much, but costs less,” said Dean.
Salt Lake City resident Jordan Crawforth has noticed a price hike for what she pays in food for her dog, Rufio.
“I just ordered a new bag for him last night and I feel like the price of the food he eats has probably gone up 15 dollars since the last time I bought it,” said Crawforth.
Crawforth says that extends to the rest of her family. She says she has seen the cost of her normal trip to the grocery store go up,.
“So expensive, just the cost of anything, I feel like we try to eat most of our budget is already allocated for our food and it’s just, I feel like it’s almost triple,” said Crawforth.
By comparison, people living in the southeast region of the U.S. are seeing the slowest inflation. With an added $331 spent on average per month.
Crawforth says she is irritated as a consumer to have to worry about the impact of inflation.
“Ideally prices would come down, but it seems like everybody’s bumping the price up of everything to try to keep up,” said Crawforth.
Dean explained that prices tend not to drop once they have increased. He expects to see moderation in the rate of increases in prices, rather than the spike we’ve seen in some areas recently.
During his State of the Union address this week, President Joe Biden vowed to combat inflation and rising costs by taking more action to fix supply chain issues.
Earlier this month, Utah’s Senator Mike Lee blamed the inflation on government spending, but also agreed that supply chain issues have had a large impact on rising costs.
“Here’s the tricky thing about inflation,” said Lee. “Not always, but generally speaking, when prices go up, they tend to not go back down right away.”
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