NEW YORK, June 21 (Xinhua) -- As food, gas and housing all cost more than they did the month before, never mind last year, those without disposable income have had a daunting landscape to navigate and are forced to wonder how far can a dollar stretch if prices keep increasing and wages remain the same, reported cleveland.com last week.
Ohio increased its minimum wage to 9.30 U.S. dollars per hour on Jan. 1, up from 8.80 dollars, a 5.6 percent increase in wages, but this wage increase doesn't even cover the CPI (consumer price index) difference of 7.5 percent from January 2021 to January 2022, said the local news portal based in Cleveland, the second largest city in Ohio.
"Wages haven't been going up fastest at the lower end of the wage distribution," said Bill Kosteas, an economics professor at Cleveland State University. "At the end of the day, if inflation is running 8.6 percent, that 6 percent pay increase that you got becomes a pay reduction when you factor in inflation."
If inflation increases a little, minimum-wage households may have to cut back on non-necessities like travel and entertainment. But if inflation is high, they might have to make decisions about utilities and food, according to the report.
"Rapid inflation affects poorer communities the fastest and the hardest," said the report, adding that "a person's personal rate of inflation can be even higher than the CPI difference if they are already forced to put much of their money toward gas to go to work and food to put on the table, which are two categories with prices that are rising the quickest." ■