The perfect storm of global supply chain disruptions, heavy public spending on the Covid-19 pandemic, and oil uncertainty from the Russia-Ukraine war have shot up prices from milk and chicken to gasoline and used cars across the U.S., including Georgia.

“When the not-so-organic section is the same price or higher as the organic section, we have a major red flag here,” said Ashley Bruce, an Atlanta metro bartender with four young kids. She’s seen prices double for her home’s staples like mangos, broccoli and milk in recent months. “And the meat section?” she added. “Forget about it.”

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates higher than it has in nearly three decades, aiming to wrangle inflation levels that have caused rent, groceries and gas prices to soar faster in the Atlanta area than any other urban zone in the country, except Phoenix. As of April, prices overall in the Atlanta area were nearly 11% higher than they were a year ago.

But don’t expect a break on stiff gas and food bills anytime soon, local economists say. Inflation will likely continue taking its toll on Georgians struggling to stretch their dollars at the pump and grocery shelves for at least another year or more. And there’s little Georgia government officials can do about it.

“I think we’ve exhausted the state-level options,” said Gopinath Munisamy, head of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Georgia. “In my view, the federal government has more tools than the state government on this issue.”

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