(The Center Square) — Despite potentially encouraging job and unemployment news, inflation remains a top concern for many Georgia businesses.
“With costs coming down, wages rising, and unemployment at historic lows, Bidenomics is delivering real results for working Georgians,” Democratic Party of Georgia spokesperson Ellie Schwartz said in a statement.
However, a new WalletHub analysis of the 23 major MSAs found inflation in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell Metropolitan Statistical Area is rising the second most in the nation.
“It registers a 4.60% increase in inflation compared to last year and a 1.20% spike in the last couple of months,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told The Center Square via email. “Fed rate hikes are slowly reducing inflation nationally, but the Atlanta metro area is still one of the most affected by the increase in prices. The housing and energy costs are barely budging, meaning the area is one of the slowest to recover from the pervasive inflation.”
Meanwhile, the new National Federation of Independent Business Index found small business optimism increased slightly last month. However, many Georgia small businesses remain concerned about inflation and labor quality.
“Small business optimism nationwide was up a bit in June, but it’s still not as strong as it should be,” NFIB State Director Hunter Loggins said in a statement. “Our members say inflation and labor quality are their biggest challenges right now, which is troubling. It means prices are high, and Main Street businesses can’t always find enough workers to provide the level of service their customers expect.”
To tame inflation, however, local leaders may not have many options.
“State and local leaders have limited direct control over inflation, since it’s generally influenced by national economic factors and monetary policy set by the Federal Reserve,” Gonzalez said. “However, they can try to minimize the burden through controlling the budget and government spending at both state and local level. Providing support for vulnerable populations or addressing matters like food insecurity and high healthcare costs could also help reduce the burden of inflation.
“There are different factors driving inflation depending on the city, causing it to be so different from one place to another: in some places, like Seattle, it’s the housing costs, in others it’s groceries,” Gonzalez said. “Places that attract more population can also experience higher inflation.
“Even though our study doesn’t dive into specific reasons behind every metro area’s inflation rate, Anchorage’s population is smaller than Atlanta’s by almost half, which could contribute to their decline in inflation rate.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor