ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As inflation concerns continue to ripple through the economy, the Federal Reserve is again raising interest rates, approving a 75 basis point increase Wednesday. The move is an effort to further slow down the economy and pump the brakes on rampant inflation.
“It doesn’t target anything specifically, it just makes it more expensive for individuals to spend, more expensive for corporations to spend. But when rates get to a certain level, people are unwilling to spend,” said Sean Leonard, Chief Investment Officer for Graypoint LLC in Albany.
Leonard says inflation has actually improved in certain areas, including with fuel costs compared to earlier in the year. But, as it’s taken time to do so, rising costs have began to other, previously untouched areas of the econony.
“Inflation is funny because it’s such an individually specific item. So, if you’re buying a house, inflation has been horrific, because the price of homes has gone up and the interest rate to buy them has gone up as well,” he said.
Higher costs have continued to be felt everywhere from the gas pump to the grocery store. The costs of some groceries, including eggs, chicken and bread, have soared in price in comparison to last year.
Leonard says the impacts of inflation have a disproportionate impact on lower income families, “So what you see is, you see people actually putting more on the credit cards.”
As the Fed continues raising interest rates, it has an impact on everyone who’s carrying debt, including credit cards, “Rising rates makes it harder and harder to pay off those debts,” Leonard said, explaining that higher interest rates will increase the cost to pay off these debts.
According to Equifax as of September, credit card debt has surpassed pre-pandemic levels across the US. As of September Americans had around $916 billion in credit card debt, including $851 billion for bank cards, an 18% increase since last September.
“With the holidays coming, it just means it’s going to be harder and harder for every person to go out and spend,” Leonard said, but noted that credit delinquency has remained relatively stable, saying that for now, most people have been able to withstand the added pressures of inflation.
As the Fed continues taking steps to bring costs down, experts are hopeful that relief could come soon.
“You know, hope’s not really a great strategy, but our hope would be in the next 2-3 months you will see inflation start to stabilize and really start to move down. But it could be another 12-18 months before we get inflation back into a 3% range,” said Leonard.
The Chief Investment Officer says the Fed’s actions are also in an effort to normalize the labor market, as unemployment numbers have stayed relatively low despite the widespread availability of jobs.
For those who continue struggling with the pressures of inflation, Leonard says he expects more people, especially younger Americans, to find second jobs to provide immediate relief.