Inflation remains hot less than 4 weeks from midterm election

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  • Year-over-year inflation remained elevated at 8.2% in September, according to new figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The cost of gas was down, but the price of other essentials like food, shelter, and home heating rose.

The last inflation reading before the 2022 midterm election shows that price pressures remain elevated across the economy, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the September Consumer Price Index on Oct. 13.

The new reading clocked the CPI at 0.4% last month, for a year-over-year inflation rate of 8.2%. The inflation rate came in hotter than expected, with a consensus estimate around 0.3%.

“Leaders in Washington have chosen to massively increase the money supply to fund their agendas, and American families are paying for it,” said Paige Terryberry, senior analyst for fiscal policy with the John Locke Foundation. “Today’s report shows core inflation at a new record high, a sign that these price pressures are not going away.”

“The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates from effectively 0% up to around 3% now, and it hasn’t doesn’t appear to have had any impact on slowing things down enough to contain inflation,” said Dr. Michael Walden, the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Extension Economist at North Carolina State University, in a phone interview with Carolina Journal.

The only silver lining in the report was the cost of gas, which dropped 4.9%. But the cost of food, natural gas, electricity, new vehicles, shelter, and medical care all continued to increase. Even the good news on gas prices in September has dimmed in recent weeks, with the average price nationally now hitting $3.91 a gallon, 19 cents higher than a month ago.

Republican candidates in North Carolina were quick to jump on the inflation numbers. “Joe Biden’s economic policies have failed the American people,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, the Republican candidate for North Carolina’s open U.S. Senate seat.

“We can’t afford one-party Democrat rule anymore,” tweeted Christine Villaverde, running as the Republican in the 2nd congressional district, while incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop of the 8th congressional district wrote, “It’s not ‘transitory. It’s not ‘Putin’s price hike.’ It’s Biden’s economic destruction.”

Recent polling indicates that inflation remains top-of-mind for N.C. voters. A Civitas poll from September showed that 56% of likely general election voters believe the U.S. will experience an economic recession during the next twelve months, while 52.9% said it was “difficult” to afford food, 56.5% to afford gas, and 48.5% to afford housing.

The next CPI reading will be Nov. 10, two days after the election.

Carolina Journal reporter Theresa Opeka contributed reporting to this story.