HOUSTON (KIAH) – Nearly 2 years since the country shut down due to the pandemic, inflation is hitting the pockets of many Americans.

The first quarter of 2022 is seeing the highest rate of inflation in four decades. With fewer pay raises, borrowing rates increasing, and the costs of rent, food, and gas continuing to soar, people are less able to afford what they need to live.

Although our country is facing a shortage of workers, more federal aid is being used and consumer spending is high. Companies are facing pressure to raise the prices of their products to cover costs. In addition, food costs are up nearly one percent since last month. The issue surrounding the shortage of computer chips still remains.

The average price for goods and services increased more than 7 percent in January compared to 2021.

New car prices are up more than 12 percent from a year ago. According to AAA, the national average of gas hit a seven-year high in February. For unleaded it’s about $3.62 per gallon. The cost for a barrel of oil is over $90. Electricity prices surged by more than four percent in January alone.

Apartment rental across the nation spiked at the beginning of 2022. Overall, many Americans are less able to afford food, gas, child care, utilities, and more.

In the midst of the pandemic, President Biden says the United States created over 6.5 million jobs last year.

Russia and Ukraine Conflicts Impacting U.S Economy

As conflicts between Russia and Ukraine continue, many Americans are feeling the economic impacts. Since Russia is one of the United State’s biggest suppliers for foreign petroleum in the United States, prices surrounding oil, gas, and food are on the rise.

Oil is peaking at around nearly $92 per barrel it was $69 at the end of December and $60 a year ago. On Monday, the national price for gas was about $3.62 a gallon. According to AAA, prices will continue to rise. The average price was about $2.71 a year ago.

Food costs are also being impacted. Farmers are paying more for fertilizer. Russia is the world’s second-largest producer of fertilizer.

The conflict is also having a major impact on world travel. No-fly zones covering Ukraine and some of the surrounding area have caused some canceled flights. Those cancellations can cause a cascade of problems outside the conflict zone.