Inflation hits a 39-year high; North Dakotans notice increase in prices

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:05 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Last year, inflation increased at the fastest pace since June of 1982. According to the consumer price index, a metric that measures the costs of dozens of items, the average price for goods increased by an average of seven percent.

People in Bismarck are taking notice of higher prices.

”As we continue to have escalating prices, we’re going to have escalating poverty, and that disparity is getting too hard to handle for a lot of people,” said Eric Thompson, of Bismarck.

Industry experts say there are several reasons for inflation.

”Partially the fault is from omicron. The shortfalls in production, computer chips and supplies, food, especially with the packing plants. And then the third problem is the U.S. government and its heavy spending, trying to make up for its mistakes of shutting the country down and paying people to stay home,” said Eugene Graner, president of Heartland Investor Services.

Housing and gas were the biggest contributors to December price hikes. Higher house prices have made a big impact on Eric’s life.

“Mostly housing, because I’m moving. And it’s been really difficult to get pricing after they went up so much over the summer,” he said.

A rise in national inflation means prices are rising locally as well. A year ago today, the average price for a pound of 85% lean ground beef in Bismarck was $5.59. Today, the same costs $6.19. The price of gas a year ago was $2.21, today, gas costs $3.11 per gallon, nearly a dollar higher.

Not all prices have increased, however. The price of a gallon of 2% milk in Bismarck a year ago was $3.59, now, the same gallon of milk costs $3.39.

Economic experts say one thing that would help is for the Fed to raise interest rates sooner than planned.

”The Federal Reserve, despite all the conversation of the tools they have, they’re not using them. And the one that’s key is starting to raise interest rates, they’re dragging their feet, waiting ‘til maybe March to do this,” said Graner.

As for inflation, Eugene says it’s no longer fair for the Fed to refer to it as ‘transitory.’

The inflation rate of 7% was a faster rate of increase than November’s 6.8% and higher than economists had predicted.

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