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Nearly two-thirds of American adults say their incomes are lagging behind the cost of living, and that groceries have surpassed mortgage payments for some, as the economy remains a major problem for voters in the upcoming midterm elections.
recent poll found by NBC News that 63 percent of voters say they couldn’t make ends meet because their incomes failed to keep up with the higher cost of living, while 58 percent disapproved of the Biden administration’s economic policies.
Still, the survey of 1,000 adults found that President Joe Biden’s approval rating had risen to 45 percent, and that his Democratic Party was making gains over rival Republicans, driven by voters’ anger at women’s limited access to abortions.
The survey comes as Americans experienced another month of economic hardship. While average gas prices have fallen to $3.67 a gallon, the pain is increasingly felt at supermarket checkouts.
US consumer prices rose unexpectedly in August, up 8.3 percent year-on-year, and underlying inflation accelerated as rent, healthcare and food costs rose.
Groceries prices are up 13.5 percent from a year ago, the largest annual increase since 1979, latest Labor Department data shows
According to the Department of Labor’s consumer price index, the total cost of food rose 11.4 percent, while the home food, groceries category rose 13.5 percent – the strongest increase since the late 1970s.
Speaking to shoppers in Houma, Louisiana, The Wall Street Journal even met a 38-year-old mother, Megan Naquin, who now spends more each month on groceries for her family of eight than on her $1,500 monthly mortgage.
“The stuff hasn’t just gone up a little, it’s gone up a lot,” Naquin told the paper, adding that she had cut back on cooking experimental recipes and urged her six children not to rush through the pantry.
“Every time we go shopping, we say it better be here next week.”
Shoppers like Naquin have noticed the sharp rise in the cost of eggs, which: jumped nearly 40 percent in the year to August — meaning the price of a dozen rose from $4.63 to a whopping $7.69 in some stores.
Other inventory products that have seen major price increases include milk (which rose 17 percent in the year to August), oranges (14 percent), roasted coffee (18.7 percent), margarine (38.3 percent) and breakfast cereals (23. 3 percent).
In addition to watching rising prices, many shoppers have taken to social media to complain about “shrink inflation” — manufacturers shrinking the size of their products and not lowering prices.
Others have noted that the price of food in supermarkets has risen (13.5 percent), while restaurant bills have risen by an average of 8 percent, the Department of Labor says, making restaurants relatively more affordable.
Supermarket prices have risen faster as they are more directly affected by rising food costs and global supply chain issues. In eateries, the cost of ingredients is only a small part of the total bill.
In response to rising prices, the cashier is cutting back on spending on travel, groceries, vacations, gasoline and restaurants, as well as buying cheaper produce and even growing vegetables at home, Gallup said.
August’s inflation rate of 8.3% was down from a 40-year high of 9.1% in June and 8.5% in July, but showed that inflation is still high and well above its target. the 2% Fed
A shopper holds groceries while waiting to check out at a supermarket in San Francisco, California, as inflation forces millions of households to cut back on basic daily necessities
The average cost of a gallon of gasoline fell to $3.71 nationwide on Monday, from just over $5 in mid-June. Still, pump prices were higher than a year ago when the national average was $3.18
Others have tried to earn more by working overtime, finding a second job, or finding a new, better-paying job. Some even postponed medical procedures or appointments to make ends meet.
President Joe Biden said in an interview with CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday that he did not believe the economy was as bad as many people claim, despite inflation being 40 years high.
His gleaming outlook on US finances came after stocks fell sharply last week after the August inflation report came in higher than expected, hurting investors’ optimism about falling prices and a less aggressive Federal Reserve.
He spoke of the government’s achievements in job creation, low unemployment rates and “huge investments being made in computer chips” that will boost the economy “on the road.”
Polls by KFF, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News and others show that inflation and gas prices were important to voters in the upcoming midterm elections, which will determine which party controls Congress.
Gun violence, access to abortion and the cost of prescription drugs were also top concerns.
Respondents to recent KFF and The Wall Street Journal polls have named the economy and inflation as one of their priorities in the run-up to the midterm elections