Wary of inflation, interest rates, North Carolina adapts lifestyles to reduce costs :: WRAL.com

According to a poll by WRAL News, North Carolina is largely negative about the economy and how it could affect their families in the coming year. And as inflation strains household budgets, many in the state say they are cutting some assets to cope with rising costs.

46% of respondents said they were pessimistic about their families’ economic prospects, while 38% were optimistic. Democrats and Republicans cited inflation as a major fear. 60% of respondents said they were very concerned about the impact of higher prices on their family, while 32% said they were somewhat concerned.

The WRAL News survey of 1,100 adults was conducted in collaboration with SurveyUSA between June 8-12. It reported a credibility range of 2.3 to 3.8 percentage points depending on the question asked. A credibility interval is similar to the margin of error but takes into account more factors and is considered by some pollsters to be a more accurate measure of statistical certainty.

The survey results come when borrowing costs are set to rise. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday aggressively raised its key interest rate, a move that, while intended to moderate rising inflation, would likely raise the cost of some loans and strain spending for some consumers.

State lawmakers, meanwhile, are debating ways to provide relief to residents.

Economic tensions

“Gas, food, clothes, even the mortgage. He’s getting crazy, “said Ronnie Enoch, a Morrisville resident who says he’s redefining his spending.” I’m looking at the things I have to do to change. I have to take money from down here to pay the bills over there.

The nation’s economy, which showed signs of strength earlier this year, has cooled in recent months.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine led to sanctions that restricted oil and gas imports, driving pump prices to record highs across the nation and state. Inflation has also pushed up the prices of food and other goods.

Consumer prices rose 8.6% in May, the fastest pace since 1981 and faster than the 8.3% yoy increase in April, the Labor Department said Friday.

The stock market, meanwhile, plummeted earlier this week on the basis of expectations that the Fed would raise the benchmark rate in the short term. The central bank raised its federal funds rate by 0.75 percentage points on Wednesday, the largest increase since the early 1990s.

Upbeat employment reports for North Carolina, plus low unemployment and strong consumer spending in recent months illustrated the resilience of the state economy. But the results of the WRAL News poll could predict a change.

Change your habits

To cope with rising costs, many in the state say they drive less, cut back on meals out, and participate in fewer activities or events, the survey shows. A sizable number of residents are also downsizing the grocery store and canceling or delaying travel plans.

Cary’s Garrett Cullen says he and his family of four are looking for discounts by being more judicious about driving, tracking credit card bills, and eating less out. He is concerned about the direction of the economy and what the second half of the year might bring.

“What will happen when we get to Christmas,” he said. “Will people be eliminated? Will they be ready to buy gifts and all that stuff by then? We will have to see. It will depend on where the gas prices are. “

The results show that Democrats and Republicans were similarly affected by inflation, but had different views on what the future holds.

Half of Democrats said they were optimistic about the economic outlook for their families in the coming year, while only 29% of Republicans felt the same way. Meanwhile, 61% of Republicans and 32% of Democrats have declared themselves pessimists. Only one in ten respondents said they don’t make changes in response to higher costs.

In response to rising costs, 72% of respondents said they had reduced meals outside the home, 61% drove less, and 60% reduced activities and events. 45% said they canceled or delayed vacations and travel, while 44% said they cut back on food and groceries.

Legislative efforts

Legislative Democrats have launched several proposals, including an increase in the childcare tax credit, an increase in funds to make school meals free for more students, and a discount on gas tax for all 18s. and more with a driver’s license in the state. At a press conference on Wednesday, they talked about it.

None of these proposals are likely to win the support of Republican legislative leaders, who control the General Assembly.

GOP lawmakers have said they are interested in some form of income tax relief, including a possible rebate, but the party would be less likely to support a gas tax rebate. “I would like to see something that is a little broader and more lasting than something temporary that can help with a tank of gas or two,” Berger told reporters earlier this month.

Senator Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake, said it’s a shame as tax cuts often don’t help low-income families.

“Inflation is contributing a lot to the needs we feel from families,” Chaudhuri said at the press conference on Wednesday. “These are real pieces of legislation that I think can have an impact on the profits and the crisis that families and children are feeling.”

WRAL Capitol Bureau chief Laura Leslie contributed to this article.