U.S. consumers have remarkably soured in their perceptions about the national economy as they fear inflation, long subdued, is here to stay. 

According to the monthly survey of consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan, rising inflation has put a severe dampening on Americans’ expectations that the future will soon be brighter than the present.

The index for consumer sentiment was 66.8, a 6.8% fall from October. Consumer expectations were no better at 62.8, a 7.5% drop from last month.

In terms of how Americans gauged current economic conditions, the view was similarly dour. On this measure, the final score was 73.2, 5.8% lower than in October and a reflection of the pain felt by ordinary consumers as inflation spikes up prices for everyday goods.

The Michigan survey is the latest measurement that paints a portrait of a worried and pessimistic population, exhausted by the tumult of the COVID-19 pandemic but now forced to deal with inflation levels not seen since 1991. Prices for basic needs from homes and energy to food have all been trending upwards as reflected by the recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) from the Department of Labor. 

The Federal Reserve and the White House signaled they are aware that inflation is becoming the prevailing concern for the U.S. economy as the pandemic continues.

President Joe Biden has taken actions at the national and international level to prioritize easing the supply chain bottlenecks that are pushing up prices. Biden has prioritized the reduction of shipping backlogs at U.S. ports while cutting deals with companies to ensure timely deliveries will be made to stores. He secured support from his fellow G-20 member states to unwind bottlenecks.

The Fed cut its multibillion-dollar asset purchases last week. While it still considers it likely that inflation will ease by next year, the central bank believes the time is right to curtail its buying as it paves the way for a possible hike in interest rates next year.