FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – “Arkansas is having a very difficult time with inflation,” says Nick VinZant, senior research analyst for Lending Tree.
In a poll conducted along with financial data, he says that Arkansas ranks second to work in states hit the hardest by inflation.
“The number of people who said they have a very difficult time meeting their household expenses is up 120% since June in Arkansas,” says VinZant.
Jeff Cooperstein, an economist for the University of Arkansas, says this ranking is tough to confirm or deny.
Nonetheless, he says there is data to support Lending Tree’s claim.
“He might be accurate because the median wage in Arkansas is clearly below the national median,” says Cooperstein.
Cooperstein adds there are also financial benefits of living in the natural state compared to a more expensive one.
“Rental prices are lower; even though the average price of rent has gone up in Arkansas it’s significantly less than on the coast or other large metros,” says Cooperstein.
But both can agree what rising inflation and the pandemic have exaggerated is the divide between the haves and the have nots.
Jeff Cooperstein says “it’s hurting those people more whose wages didn’t go up faster than inflation,”
VinZant and Copperstein say it is tough to say where inflation goes from here. They say with the uncertainty of the Russian conflict in Europe; it’s tough to predict.
However, pending no further invasions and with the pandemic moving to an endemic, we should start to see inflation trend downward sometime in 2023.