CCU economics professor: “Myrtle Beach economy may benefit more than other areas” from rising cost of living

HORRY COUNTY (WBTW) – The incoming increase in the cost of living adjustment for Social Security and Supplementary Security Income (SSI) recipients is expected to benefit our region more than others, says professor from Coastal Carolina University (CCU).

Benefits will increase 5.9% for 2022, one of the biggest increases in decades.

“The economy of Myrtle Beach may benefit more than other parts of our country as we have more retirees in this area,” said Sourav Batabyal, assistant professor of economics at CCU. “This can have a ripple effect on other sectors such as food, services and hospitality.”

For Mike and Martha Francis, 76 and 66 respectively, both are retired and live in Horry County. They are among the over 25% of county residents aged 65 and over.

The retired couple receives about $ 1,600 per month in social security.

“We’re pretty much at breakeven every month,” Mike said.

“Yes, we do,” Martha added. “Sometimes there is a little more and sometimes there is not.”

The increase in the adjustment comes at a time when the prices of goods and services are 5.4% higher, according to the Consumer Price Index calculated by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“In terms of the cost of living, I wish they’d cut down on some gas, some groceries, things that you have to have anyway,” Mike said. “It would help a lot. “

“It would,” Martha added.

The two said they used to make ends meet due to their experience raising four children. By focusing on paying monthly bills, buying habits come second.

“You go to the grocery store and you buy whatever is on sale and plan your meals that way,” Martha said. “If chicken is on sale, you get chicken. “

The couple want the increase to be higher to give them a little more leeway each month.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but anything can help,” Martha said.

Batabyal said there is a balance to benefit from the increases.

“Because if you give too much money, it also creates even more inflation,” Batabyal said.

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