Inflation hits basic needs hardest

March 21, 2008 at 7:45 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) -- The middle class and poor have been hit harder by inflation than affluent groups in the United States, a report on Thursday said.

Inflation has risen faster for basic necessities than it has for luxury items, while wages for lower level employees has risen slower than most, The Washington Post reported.

The cost of grocery, gasoline and healthcare has risen 9.2 percent since 2006, while the cost of items considered more luxurious -- eating at a restaurant or a new car -- have risen only 2.4 percent, the Post said.

Basic necessities cost the average family $972 more per year than they did in 2006, the Post reported.

Grocery and gasoline prices have risen sharply. The average family spends $253 more per year at the grocery store and $378 more at the gas station.

The average costs -- luxuries and basics -- have gone up 4 percent, while the cost of dairy items have gone up 15 percent, fruits and vegetables 10 percent and grain products 8 percent.

At the same time, the average earnings for those below the management level rose about 5 percent, the report said.

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