Apr 19, 2022 - News

Coloradans combat costs at the drive-thru amid soaring inflation

Data: Economic Policy Institute, Axios research; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios
Data: Economic Policy Institute, Axios research; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

From the gas pump to the drive-thru, Coloradans are combatting climbing costs — and some of those soaring prices may never come back down.

Driving the news: Fast food menu totals are up 7.2% year-over-year, according to a new report by the National Restaurant Association.

  • That's the largest leap in four decades, Axios' Karri Peifer writes.

Zoom in: The price of McDonald's signature Big Mac has spiked 40% over the last decade.

  • That means in Denver — where the iconic burger is 55 cents cheaper than the $5.94 national average — a minimum wage earner can afford two sandwiches (sans drinks or fries) for an hour's worth of work.

Yes, but: Ordering takeout remained cheaper than eating at home last month due to rising food prices in grocery stores across the country, according to the latest federal data.

The big picture: A return to pre-COVID prices at your favorite fast food chain, grocery store or gas station could be a ways away — if at all, Axios' Javier E. David reports.

  • Meanwhile, the odds of a U.S. recession in the next two years hover at 35%, Goldman Sachs predicts.

The other side: While many consumers fear the Fed will have to force a recession to stabilize the market, some economists say a less severe scenario is possible.

  • "A growing labor force could help economic growth and reduce wage inflation and thereby contribute to a lower rate of inflation," Thomas Berbraken, MSCI Research's executive director, told Axios in an email. "There does not necessarily need to be a drop in demand for inflation to come down."

The bottom line: These inflationary spikes won't last forever. But the days of cheap goods and services may feel like a distant memory.

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