UNAFFORDABLE UTAH

Utahns concerned about high inflation rate, poll shows

Feb 10, 2022, 10:35 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:17 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Inflation is up 7.5% over the last year — the fastest pace since 1982, according to the Consumer Price Index — and Utahns are concerned.

A recent Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll of more than 800 Utah voters showed 93% are somewhat or very concerned about inflation.

“You’re going to feel it sooner or later, one way or another,” Utahn Cole Pennington said outside of a shopping strip in Sandy.

Pennington said for the most part, inflation hasn’t been noticeable for him and his family. But he says, “the biggest concern here is we know money is worth less. But we also see costs of goods going up. It has to eventually.”

“I guess it depends on what’s the most necessary to you to spend your money on in the moment,” said Montaria Tumbaga-Pierce, after stepping out of a grocery store in Sandy.

US inflation highest in 40 years, with no letup in sight

“Is it going to stop? I honestly hope. That would be ideal for it to stop if,” she said. “If it doesn’t, it will just be a matter of really survival at this point.”

But Nick Thiriot with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute says Utah is still in a better spot than most. He points to the state’s second-lowest unemployment rate at 1.9 % and its first-place rank in job growth at 3.7%.

“While the rest of the nation is still in the midst of a recovery from the pandemic, Utah’s economy is strong,” said Thiriot, who oversees communications at the institute.

A survey they conducted shows Utah Consumer Sentiment is up. In other words, Utahns felt slightly better off financially in January than in December.

But even with the improvement, Thiriot says overall sentiment is still the second-lowest on record, or when they began doing the survey in October 2020.

“So what this tells us is Utahns are still concerned about inflation and the effects of omicron and the delta variant,” he said.

There’s no real timeline for inflation. And just like with COVID-19, economists are waiting to see when it will peak. As KSL reported earlier this week, the Federal Reserve is looking at raising interest rates as a way to calm inflation.

“I think it’s important that we’re all fiscally prudent in these times of uncertainty,” Pennington said.

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Utahns concerned about high inflation rate, poll shows