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Consumer spending increasing in Arizona and across the U.S. despite inflation

Consumer spending increasing in Arizona and across the U.S. despite inflation
Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 19:50:52-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Inflation in the United States jumped to 7.5% in January. Groceries, gas, and electricity are all more expensive than usual. But the rise in costs hasn't stopped consumers.

“It’s not a drastic amount of money, it’s just enough that you notice it,” said Chuck Crowley, Tucson resident.

Tucson business owners have raised their prices in recent months because of supply chain issues and inflation.

“We like to go out to eat and we’re not going to give that part of our lifestyle up,” Crowley said.

“Definitely about a buck and a quarter on most stuff to try and make up for the food costs,” said Mark Meabon, Co-owner of Serial Grillers on Speedway.

He says despite higher costs, some Serial Grillers locations saw a 10% increase in customers this year.

“Definitely since the beginning of January things have changed drastically," Meabon said. "People are getting a little more comfortable to come out to the restaurant to eat which is nice because it’s been a while.”

It’s not only in Tucson. More people are spending money across the United States. According the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics - consumer spending went up by 2.1% in January.

That’s a jump from the 0.8% decrease in December.

“During the pandemic we just weren’t spending on travel and tourism related services as we normally would," said Dr. George Hammond, Director of the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona. "So that left more money in many individuals and households bank accounts and now they’re spending it.”

Hammond attributes this trend to a number of changes.

“Part of the reason is because individuals incomes are elevated," Hammond said. "We had a huge infusion of federal income support during the pandemic, and that’s only recently gone away.”

Hammond says the trend might not continue for long. The high costs will soon take their toll on consumers’ wallets.

“Rising prices will counteract some of the increase in spending as it eats up the household budget,” Hammond said.