PPB June 2022

Inflation: Then And Now Amid rising costs, what lessons can promotional products professionals learn from the runaway inflation four decades ago? Six veteran business owners look back on that time and talk about what really concerns them now. By Tina Berres Filipski When the annual inflation rate jumped to 8.5% this spring, it marked the highest increase since January 1982. But unlike 40 years ago, this time around the record inflation isn’t coupled with soaring interest rates, which averaged over 16% in 1982 (although the Fed has indicated six interest rate increases by year end). It’s also not accompanied by high unemployment. By the end of 1982, unemployment was at nearly 11%, the highest since World War II. In contrast, in March 2022, unemployment was a mere 3.6%. There’s also the issue of timing. The last time inflation neared 8%, it was spiraling downward after peaking in 1980 at 14.8%. The inflation we’re experiencing now is on an upward trajectory. But there’s something else different about inflation this time compared with 40 years ago that seems to temper its threat: It’s being overshadowed by a number of substantial issues and world events—a rebounding economy following the pandemic, Russia’s war on Ukraine, the soaring cost of gasoline, a dearth of ready-to-work employees and supply chain disruptions that affect consumers and businesses struggling com FEATURE | Rising Inflation 18 | JUNE 2022 |