Fuel for High Inflation
Gas prices are way up and that's fueling inflation fears.
Customer service rep Tammy Banks fueled up today in a grumpy mood.
Tammy says "yeah, gas prices is just too high."
$3.29 a gallon here in DC. On average, nationwide, the highest in more than 2 years: $3.10.
Tammy says "it normally would only be, like, $25 to fill up my car, this is a Ford Focus, now, it's like $35!"
And grocery prices are up. Inflation is a new worry.
Brian Wesbury, Chief Economist at First Trust Portfolios, says "it lowers our purchasing power, it lowers standards of living and eventually that inflation really begins to interfere with economic growth."
But aside from fuel and food, inflation's not a big factor now.
Steve Leisman, CNBC Senior Economics reporter, says "what we look for is are prices overall going up? -- and that's simply not the case. As long as unemployment remains as high as it is, well north of nine percent, we think it's very difficult to have a generalized inflation problem in this country."
There's no big hike in hiring and auto production dropped a bit last month. But other manufacturing and retail sales were up again and bankers today forecast new jobs this year will double to 2 million.
Stuart Hoffman of the American Bankers Association says "clearly an improvement as economic growth is faster. That is enough to take a small bite out of the unemployment rate."
Baby steps in the right direction, even though Tammy and the rest of us are paying more for gas.