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Monday, November 28, 2022

A Third Of Americans Say Their Credit Card And Utility Bills Are Piling Up

Millions of Americans’ utility bills are piling up, and more than half say life is getting harder, and many economists agree inflation Grim survey shows nearly 40-year high, no peak yet midterm elections.

For months, Americans have been concerned about runaway inflation, driving gasoline prices above $6 a gallon and driving pantry staples like eggs soaring 40% in the year to August.

A raft of surveys released this week show how millions of households are now struggling financially, unable to pay rent, credit cards and utility bills, and increasingly pessimistic about their future prospects.

They arrive 34 days before the midterm elections, when voters will decide which party controls Congress for the remainder of the president’s time Joe Bidencurrent term of white house – The economy is their top priority.

Millions of Americans have had to make sacrifices to pay their bills, Matt Schultz, a credit analyst at lending marketplace LendingTree, said in a survey released Wednesday.

About 32% of adults have paid their bills late in the past six months, often because they simply don't have enough money in the bank.Utilities, credit cards, cable and internet are the most missed payments

About 32% of adults have paid their bills late in the past six months, often because they simply don’t have enough money in the bank.Utilities, credit cards, cable and internet are the most missed payments

“Perhaps the worst part is that inflation may not go away anytime soon.”

The poll of 1,600 consumers found that 32% of adults (about 83 million people) paid their bills late in the past 6 months, with 61% saying they just didn’t have the money to pay their dues.

The researchers found that, in most cases, these bills were used to pay for utilities, credit cards, cable TV, internet, rent or mortgage payments. More than half of Americans have overdrafted to pay their bills, and a quarter have done so more than once.

U.S. consumer prices unexpectedly rose in August, the most recent month for which data was available, and rose 8.3% from a year earlier, and underlying inflation accelerated amid rising rent, health care and food costs.

According to the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, the overall cost of food rose 11.4%, led by a 13.5% rise in household groceries, the largest increase since the late 1970s.

Shoppers noticed a sharp rise in the price of eggs, up nearly 40% in the year to August — meaning a dozen eggs went from $4.63 to $7.69 in some stores.

Other food staples that saw big price increases included milk (up 17% in the year to August), oranges (14%), roasted coffee (18.7%), margarine (38.3%) and breakfast cereal (23.3%).

Against this backdrop, consumer finance firm Bankrate’s survey of economists’ attitudes released on Wednesday showed little hope – 43% of respondents said inflation would be worse than expected in the next 12-18 months.

Two-thirds of respondents said the U.S. will fall into a recession in the same time frame, meaning the economy has contracted for two consecutive quarters, while 86% said the outlook is “slanted to the downside.”

A shopper holds groceries while waiting to check out at a grocery store in San Francisco, California, as inflation forces millions of households to cut back on everyday essentials

A shopper holds groceries while waiting to check out at a grocery store in San Francisco, California, as inflation forces millions of households to cut back on everyday essentials

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Inflation remains near 40-year highs, broad-based and likely to remain high, Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, said in a statement.

“Some of the more durable components take time to shift.”

In addition to struggling to pay weekly bills, Americans are increasingly frustrated with their economic future, according to a survey by the University of Chicago and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Most respondents said they wanted to support their families and own their own home, but more than half said those goals were harder to achieve than their parents’ generation.

That’s especially true for young people — about seven in 10 Americans under the age of 30 say it’s getting harder to own a home.

About half also said it was difficult for them to improve their standard of living due to economic and structural factors.

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Jesus Montier, Christa Mason and their 2-year-old daughter Diana spend time together at their home in Afton, Wyoming

Jesus Montier, Christa Mason and their 2-year-old daughter Diana spend time together at their home in Afton, Wyoming

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Josean Cano, 39, a bus operator in Chicago, said his financial situation was tougher than his parents’. He cites inflation, high housing costs and the recent shortage of baby formula as examples.

“The price of stuff has tripled,” Kano told The Associated Press.

“We’re not talking about sneakers or concert tickets. We’re talking about essentials. Six months ago, you couldn’t find PediaSure. If you could find it, it would be $20. It used to be $11 at Target.

In addition to the cost of groceries taking up a large portion of his income, Kano noted that rent and education costs have soared in recent years to the point that workers on a base wage are slowly being squeezed.

The federal minimum wage in 2021 is 34 percent lower than it was in 1968, when purchasing power peaked, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank based in Washington, D.C.

“Many people think they have fewer choices than they used to,” said University of Chicago professor Steven Durauf, who studies inequality and helped structure the study.

“A lot of happiness is related to relative status, not absolute status.”

Polls from the KFF, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News and others show that inflation and gasoline prices matter to voters in the upcoming midterm elections, which will determine which party controls Congress.

Gun violence, abortion and prescription drug costs were also the top concerns.

One in three adults has paid their bills late in the past six months, a survey showed.Utilities, credit cards, cable and internet are the most missed payments

One in three adults has paid their bills late in the past six months, a survey showed.Utilities, credit cards, cable and internet are the most missed payments

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