Inflation is showing no signs of letting up anytime soon as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.5 percent from November to December 2021. Despite the fact that average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.1 percent over the same time period, the record inflation rate over the past year yielded a 2.4 percent decrease in average hourly earnings from December 2020 to December 2021. At the same time, the University of Michigan released its monthly Survey of Consumers for January, which showed that consumer sentiment dropped by 1.8-points to 68.8 in early January. While the spread of COVID-19 variants made respondents uneasy, escalating inflation was the main driver of souring consumer attitudes. Similarly, polling from the Job Creators Network Foundation released last week revealed economic optimism among small business owners also fell in December.