Inflation hit a new pandemic-era high in June, with U.S. consumer prices jumping 9.1% year-on-year, according to new data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This is the highest level in over 40 years and higher than the previous reading, when prices rose 8.6% for the year ended May. It is also well above the 8.8% that economists had predicted, according to Refinitiv.
The June Consumer Price Index also showed that overall prices paid by consumers for various goods and services rose 1.3% from May to June.
Much of June’s increase was driven by a jump in gasoline prices, which rose nearly 60% over the year. Americans had to contend with record gasoline prices last month, with the national average topping $5 a gallon across the country. Electricity and natural gas prices also rose, by 13.7% and 38.4%, respectively, for the 12 months to June. Overall, energy prices rose 41.6% year over year.
The increases, however, were felt across all categories. Food at home prices increased by 12.2% over the year, cereals by 12.2%, dairy products by 13.5% and meats by 13.8%.
The White House said earlier this week it expected “very high” inflation data, citing the continued impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Excluding food and energy costs, which tend to represent transitory fluctuations, core CPI prices rose 0.7% over the same period and 5.9% for the 12-month period ended in June.
The Federal Reserve pays close attention to this basic data when assessing future inflationary trends, and the latest figures likely give the central bank the green light to continue its aggressive series of rate hikes to calm the economy and lower prices. The Fed is widely expected to raise its benchmark interest rate by at least 75 basis points at its next monetary policy meeting on July 26-27.
This story is growing and will be updated.
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