Consumer News: Energy costs rise, high car prices expected to stick around this year and more

Consumer News with ABC Columbia is brought to you by Grow Financial.

CNN– It’s probably the last thing consumers want to hear during the winter, but energy prices are on the rise. Futures for natural gas soared 16% Thursday, closing at a high not seen since last November. Analysts blame this spike on that major storm expected to bring snow and ice to much of the U.S. More than 100 million people are under winter weather alerts, and that will lead to supply and demand issues for natural gas as many Americans will crank up the thermometer.

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says there was an increase in the number of first time unemployment insurance claims filed last week. From January 23-29, SCDEW says 1,474 initial claims were filed. That is an increase from the 1,154 claims filed the previous week, according to the department. During last week’s claim period, SCDEW says 6,286 claimants were paid an average benefit of $272.82. Since March 15, 2020, SCDEW says a total of $6,600,808,680.25 has been paid out to claimants. You can see the full data dashboard from SCDEW at

CNN– Nationwide unemployment claims fell another 23,000 from the week before, totaling 238,000 new unemployment insurance claims. Economists had originally predicted roughly 245,000 claims for the latest week. The Labor Department says the big picture is that the economy was walloped last month by the fast spreading omicron strain of the coronavirus. Nearly 9 million people missed time from work, another government report found.

CNN– We’re still seeing historically high rices for both new and used cars this new year. Experts predict those prices could stick around for much of 2022. Jenn Sullivan looks into what’s driving up the cost, and when buyers could catch a break.

Categories: National News, News, State