Families feel the pinch as nationwide inflation rate hits 39-year high

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – Thanks to the highest inflation in a generation prices are soaring, Americans are being forced to dig deeper for many everyday items, and the timing could not be worse, right in the middle of the holiday season.

With just ten days left until Christmas, rising costs are hitting Americans hard during the busiest shopping season of the year.

New data from the Labor Department shows one key measure of inflation, “wholesale prices,” skyrocketed nearly 10% compared to last year. That’s the fastest spike since the government started keeping track in 2010. So what does it mean? Your money isn’t stretching as far.

Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi said, “The typical American is now spending a couple hundred dollars more a month than they were a year ago.”

Last month, consumer prices rose almost 7%, the highest annual jump in nearly 40 years.

Gas prices have soared over the last year and grocery essentials, from meat to fruits and vegetables, are higher too.

For example, now one pound of lean ground beef costs $ 5.77, up a $1.20 from last year.

Teacher Jen Cassano said budgeting for her family of four is now more difficult. “My husband’s working two to three jobs. I’m working full time and it just seems that like we’re not able to really breathe right now.”  And she is not alone.

45% American households say recent price hikes are causing financial hardship and lower-income families are feeling it the most.

For many businesses, inflation means supplies cost more and, in some cases, they’re forced to charge their customers more or layoff workers.

More than 70% of small business owners said rising prices have had a significant impact on their business in the past year.

All of it is causing more stress in a holiday season that’s already slowed down by supply chain constraints and huge consumer demand.

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