Inflation hit a new 40-year high in June, with consumer prices rising 9.1% over the past month, according to the Labor Department, and the sudden acceleration in prices is forcing many people to cope.
Free grocery bags were loaded into people’s cars outside the Foothill Unity Center in Monrovia on Wednesday. Mary Valdez got her free food for the week.
“Right now it’s really difficult for everyone,” Valdez said.
She who works in a grocery store deli counter where she cannot afford to buy groceries there because inflation has increased the cost of food.
“Inflation, everything. I work — I can’t talk about the market, but I feel bad for customers when they look at us, like, ‘Wow, that’s up,'” she told CBSLA. .
Kevin Martinez, a student at Pasadena City College, collects food for himself and his parents. He said he was trying to cut back where he could.
“I notice the gas, but I really try not to use my car so much,” Martinez said. “I have a skateboard and a bike. I also have a motorbike. I go to school with it. It really helps. And also the train.”
Mike Antenness of the FootHill Unity Center said that at the start of the pandemic they went from helping 4,000 to 12,000 families a year, and while demand has dropped somewhat, he expects to see more people enter as prices continue to rise. .
“We always meet the needs here in the community as best we can,” he said.
It’s the same story at food banks in Los Angeles County.
“We’re going to try to maximize the food supply. We’re going to start increasing food purchases again,” the LA Regional Food Bank CEO said when asked how his organization would be able to meet demand.
It’s not just food either. The cost of medical care also rose in June. The University of Southern California’s annual free dental clinic at Unity Center was sold out this week, with more than 100 people receiving treatment and dozens more on the waiting list.
USC business economics professor Rodney Ramcharan said inflation had an impact even on workers who got a typical 5% pay raise.
“A 9% increase or a 9.1% increase in inflation means that basically, for the typical person, they have a 4% pay cut. So that’s not good news” , he told CBSLA.
Professor Ramcharan hopes that as oil prices fall, food prices will also fall, and there are signs that inflation will ease in July.
Economists also say that if there is a drop in inflation, it usually comes at the expense of an increase in unemployment.