April 16, 2008 – With the nation already in the midst of a harsh economic downturn, working families have been battered with even more bad news recently, including record oil and gas prices and a spike in food prices.
Oil prices surged to more than $113 a barrel this morning, setting yet another record. Gas prices, currently averaging $3.37 a gallon, could spike to more $3.65 within the next month, according to some forecasts. The Energy Department has said that gas prices could get as high as $4 a gallon in the coming months.
Food costs, meanwhile, are rising at their fastest rate in 17 years. U.S. food prices jumped four percent in 2007, according to the Department of Agriculture, which expects prices to rise as much as 4.5 percent this year.
Home foreclosures also continue to plague many working families. Foreclosure filings were reported on 234,685 properties nationwide during March, according to RealityTrac. That is a 5 percent increase from the previous month and a 57 percent increase from the same time last year.
The strain of rising costs on working families have been exasperated by continued job loss. The U.S. lost another 80,000 jobs in March, the largest decline in five years. March’s job numbers marks the third straight month of job loss and pushes job loss for the year over 200,000.