Prices Now Tie With Covid-19 as Top Worry, Poll Shows

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

39%

The Balance

That’s the share of Americans who now see the cost of living as one of the two biggest issues facing the country, just as many as view COVID-19 in that camp, the results of a new CNBC economic survey suggest.

The 39% is significantly more than the 23% who saw inflation as either the most or second-most important issue in July (though it was termed as “cost of living” in the most recent survey,) according to the latest CNBC All-America Economic Survey, conducted Oct. 14-17. 

As for COVID-19, 39% chose it among the two most important issues in the latest survey, down from 41% in July, the results show. The two concerns were tied at the top of the list, with no other answer (immigration, climate change, the deficit, among others) being selected in one of the top two spots by more respondents. The survey of 800 adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5%.

Inflation has become top of mind this year as prices for everything from gas and groceries to rent and appliances rise. While price spikes were supposed to fade as supply bottlenecks eased, the fallout has been larger and longer-lasting than central bank officials anticipated, and is expected to continue.

For example, consumer goods giant Unilever, maker of items such as Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, said Thursday it raised overall prices in North America by 2.9% in the third quarter—an acceleration from a 2.2% increase in the second quarter and a 0.9% hike in the first quarter—and warned there was more to come. 

“Cost inflation remains at strongly elevated levels, and this will continue into next year,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope said in a statement. “We have and will continue to respond across our categories and markets, taking appropriate pricing action and implementing a range of productivity measures to offset increased costs.”

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