Inflation has taken its toll on much of the world recently, but the United States has stood out as one of the most affected in the last few months.
With a 6.2% annual inflation rate in October, the U.S. is now seeing prices increase at the highest rate in more than 30 years.
According to a study by Pew Research Center, in the third quarter of 2021, the country had the eighth-highest annual inflation rate among 46 countries that were examined. The U.S. also had the third-highest increase in inflation, 3.58 percentage points, between the third quarter of 2019 and the same period this year. It trailed only Brazil and Turkey, both of which have less-developed economies that generally struggle with higher inflation rates more than the U.S.
Americans, especially the poor, have struggled with the effects of inflation as food prices have increased across the board in the run-up to Thanksgiving. Food prices globally are reaching their highest rates in decades, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Association. When it comes to other goods, such as semiconductor chips and natural gas, supply chain issues have also worsened the situation, sending prices higher as supply struggles to keep up with demand.
As prices continue to rise, inflation has become a political problem for President Biden. According to the polling company Gallup, 26% of Americans say an economic concern such as unemployment, inflation, or the economy in general is the country’s top problem. Seven percent specifically pointed to inflation as the nation’s most pressing issue.
Many Americans appear to blame President Biden, whose approval rating is underwater in every battleground state. He in turn has made tackling price increases a key part of his agenda, doubling down on efforts to ease supply chain problems, releasing oil reserves, and nominating Jerome Powell to a second term as chair of the Federal Reserve.
Still, despite being an inflation “leader”, the U.S. is far from the only developed economy being affected by it. Both New Zealand and Spain saw inflation rates increase more than 2 percentage points between the third quarter of 2019 and the same period this year.
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