The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released inflation figures through November 2021 and they confirm what Americans have felt over the last 12 months – the cost of goods has risen 6.8%, the highest level since 1982.
In the last quarter of 2021, before the Omicron variant shifted public focus, there was a dramatic uptick in the number of Americans concerned about inflation. A study conducted for SPN by Heart+Mind Strategies shows an eight-point jump in the number of Americans very” or “extremely” concerned about inflation between September 2021 and December 2021, defined as the gradual rise in prices and the slow decline in purchasing power over time. Now, nearly two-thirds of Americans have significant concerns about inflation.
Interestingly, concern has risen more among certain ideological groups than others. Most Republicans were highly concerned about inflation back in September and while there has been an increase in their distress, it is relatively small. However, Democrats have grown more concerned with inflation, with a 10-point increase from September, and Independents have seen a 15-point jump. A solid majority of all political ideologies now have significant and strong concerns about inflation.
As we approach midterm elections in the fall, it will be critical for campaigns and elected officials to understand the distress inflation is causing across the political spectrum and offer policy solutions instead of blame shifting. The Network can assist current and aspiring policy makers to be solution-oriented rather than finger-pointing by educating them about tried and true solutions for stimulating economic growth. With new variants dragging the pandemic (and a tightened labor pool) on, inflation and consumer spending power is likely to be a top-of-mind concern as Americans decide how to vote in November.