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Coloradans express concern over gas, grocery prices as talk of recession looms

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Posted at 4:11 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 21:07:48-04

DENVER — Economists warn we could be heading toward a recession. That's when economic growth stops and unemployment goes up. But the White House says Friday's jobs report is a good indication that may not happen. Still, gas and food prices are on the rise.

Take a quick drive around Denver, and you'll find gas stations charging — on average — $4.55 a gallon for regular, $5.25 for premium.

"Yesterday, it was only, like, $4.30. Now, it's ridiculously high," customer Chris Craig said.

A nearby King Soopers is charging $6.99 for a pack of bacon, on sale from $8.79.

"Do I buy bacon or not," Deborah Curtis recalled asking herself while shopping.

It's obvious many Coloradans are having to make tough choices at the pump and the register as prices rise.

"Everything is sad right now. We're in a really, really, really sad state, and the grocery prices and the inflation and the things going up — and it's hard," Curtis said.

Curtis, who is on a fixed income, is having to consider increasing how much she charges for her nanny gig to make her dollar last longer.

"My income's not going up anytime soon, and it makes it hard. You just have to make choices," she said.

Another gas station customer Denver7 spoke with says $10 at the pump used to get him a quarter of a tank. Now, it's just two gallons and barely enough to get him to and from work.

"All of us low, low class, you know, it's hitting us the hardest because we're working for pretty much nothing," he said.

But even as our budgets take a beating, there is some good news. The economy added 390,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate is at a steady 3.6%. That's the lowest it's been since February 2020.

"This is the kind of steady pace that the president talked about wanting to see earlier this week," Heather Boushey, member of President Biden's Council of Economic Advisors, told Denver7 Friday.

Still, talks of a recession loom as inflation remains at an all-time high and interest rates are expected to rise again. But Boushey says this isn't an indication the economy will move backward or that growth will stop. After all, one big indicator of a coming recession is high unemployment.

"Here's the thing: The labor market is still strong. We've weathered these storms because we put the policies in place so that we could do so," she said.

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to gas prices, Boushey says, which, in turn, affects the cost of food. But for your average American, that light can't come soon enough.