OAKLAND, Calif. - The United States appears to be making progress in the battle against inflation, with the economy turning a 3.2% figure, the lowest in over two years.
Elevated inflation takes money out of Americans' pockets, while lower inflation rates put some money back in to those pockets.
In November 2020, inflation surged due to low unemployment and robust consumer spending spurred by state and federal stimulus programs.
By June 2022, the Consumer Price Index, driven by escalating food, shelter, and gas prices, had propelled inflation to 9.1%, marking a four-decade high.
For every $100 spent by consumers in November 2020, by the middle of 2022, the inflated price rose by $9.10 for the same goods and services. To cool inflation, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates, prompting reduced spending by consumers and businesses.
As of Tuesday, the October inflation rate stood at 3.2%, approaching the Federal Reserve's target of 2%. Sustaining high rates for a while longer is anticipated to further curtail inflation.
The family-owned Village Market in the Oakland hills, has a loyal customer base and many long-term employees.
Even patrons at the upscale market were rattled by inflation as it peaked.
"Just that everyone's making adjustments as to what they could buy and to feed their families," said Village Market manager and owner Keith Trimble.
The company absorbed much of the inflation, striving to balance employee payments and operational costs without overburdening customers.
While prices typically take longer to decrease than they did to rise, that may not be the case in the banking industry.
Some experts said prices could start to decline significantly from 2024 onward.
"I think they might hold their cards a little, sort of stay the course, which I think also bodes well," said shopper Alan Patten.
With slow economic growth expected in the coming year, some experts anticipate a 2% to 3% decline in interest rates.