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Local businesses, Charlotteans weigh in on highest inflation since 2008

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 4:57 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Inflation in the U.S. is up 5 percent year over year.

You may have noticed at the grocery store, restaurants, gas stations and many other places you go that prices are higher than ever.

Consumer prices have not been this high since 2008.

Many small businesses in Charlotte were already impacted in some way by the pandemic. Now, they’re trying to bring customers back in amidst surging retail prices.

Uptown Cycles is one of the businesses that attracted new clients during the pandemic, as COVID-19 restrictions pushed may people to the great outdoors.

Sales manager Shawna Wood says the hurdle is overcoming supply chain issues.

“There have been a lot of things that are hard to get,” Wood said. “Everything from chains and tires and tubes on up to bicycles.”

As they typically do when supply chains are disrupted, prices are going up seemingly everywhere.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation on all items rose 5 percent from last May. Food away from home went up 4 percent. Used cars and trucks went up almost 30 percent, and airline fares up 24 percent.

“For many people, they’re seeing the end of the pandemic at the same time they haven’t spent as much over the last year, so they have more money to spend,” Certified Financial Planner Bill Dendy told WBTV. “As we all spend money at the same time it tends to push prices up.”

People living in Charlotte say it’s impacting short-term money matters like their grocery runs, and long-term financial decisions like homebuying.

“I wanted to become a homeowner,” Emmanuel Lai said. “I’m still contemplating it but unfortunately, a lot of young professionals are now priced out of the housing market.”

Dendy says it’s not time to panic but it is a good time to take a look at your portfolio and personal finances overall.

“We’re going to find that cost of that mortgage going up, and if you’re carrying monthly credit card debt, the cost is likely to go up,” he said. “This might be a good time to fix that rate, refinancing to pay a fixed level rate that will not go up.”

He says it’s too soon to say whether it’s just a transient event and eventually normal economics will start to play out, or whether this is the beginning of a longer-term problem.

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