Family Service Society

PADUCAH — Your money isn't going as far as it used to. A new Consumer Price Index report from the Department of Labor shows prices increased 0.3% from July to August. A year ago, they increased 5.3%.

The good news is August saw the smallest increase over the past seven months.

With the rising cost of everyday items, Family Service Society in Paducah is seeing more people in need.

"With finding the balance of unemployment, the rising cost of food and rent and utilities, and life as a whole, we are just continuing to see people contact us," FSS Executive Director Candace Melloy said. "More people that have never had to reach out to us before."

Energy prices have seen the most dramatic increase this year, followed by used cars, transportation services and takeout. Gasoline and new car prices saw the biggest jump in August. Used cars and transportation services saw a decline. Things like groceries, clothes and housing continue to steadily increase.

So why is this happening?

A Murray State University economics professor says large stimulus packages had an impact. He tells his students to imagine it like a night at a bar.

"You take a couple of drinks and you start feeling good, and this is kind of what stimulus money does, too," economics professor Eran Guse said. "It makes the economy work stronger. It creates jobs and everything."

But when the money is spent and the goods still need to be sold, you get an economic hangover.

"Eighteen to 24 months from that policy you'll see these big rises in inflation, which we're not seeing yet because it hasn't really happened yet. That impact on prices, we haven't seen all of it yet," Guse said.

It's hard to imagine prices continuing to rise, but with COVID-19 cases rising and spending declining, it seems inevitable.