Inflation surged again in March, with consumer prices rising a whopping 8.5 percent over March 2021 — the biggest increase since December 1981.
The figure exceeded even the pessimistic predictions of experts, who were looking at an 8.4 percent increase, according to Axios. Inflation rose 7.9 percent in February.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said its gasoline price index registered an 18.3 percent increase.
The so-called core index that omits energy and food — which tend to be volatile — rose 6.5 percent, higher than the 6.4 percent experts expected, according to The New York Times.
Although that is lower than overall inflation, CNBC noted that the figure was the highest since August 1982.
Most worrying thing in the CPI report: Services excluding energy services up 0.6%, and has accelerated each of the last three months. Even if durable goods and energy prices stabilize, that suggests real broadening of underlying inflation.
— Neil Irwin (@Neil_Irwin) April 12, 2022
Inflation is more than a story of gas prices…
Groceries +10% –> biggest spike since 1981
Meat/poultry/fish +13.8% ->biggest since 1979
New cars 12.6%->biggest ever
Electricity +11.1% -> biggest since ’06
Home furnishing 10.8% ->biggest ever
Rent 5.1% ->largest since 1991
— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) April 12, 2022
The impact of rising prices on Americans was noted in a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics report that showed real average hourly earnings dropping by a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent.
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The Biden administration has attempted to deflect blame for the inflation crisis.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday, even before the report emerged, that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was responsible, according to CNBC.
“We expect March CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin’s price hike,” Psaki said.
Many on social media were skeptical about that claim.
Biden is blaming inflation on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Did Putin invade Ukraine at the beginning of 2021? My memory is a little foggy pic.twitter.com/V5gtA9ke3G
— Dr. Matt Walsh, Women’s Studies Scholar (@MattWalshBlog) April 12, 2022
You can’t just keep printing infinite money and handing it to your rich friends at Blackrock without getting massive inflation. Thank you for attending my Ted Talk.
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) April 12, 2022
Media’s explanation of inflation this year pic.twitter.com/mcKqRewv4g
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) April 8, 2022
The Federal Reserve has said it will act to curb inflation, with interest rate increases expected in May, according to the Times.
“It’s been a shock: We went for a decade when we could not get inflation to 2 percent,” Christopher J. Waller, a Fed governor, said during an event on Monday. “We’re hoping that it will go away relatively fast. That’s our job, and we’re going to get it done.”
However, many said inflation is not going to vanish instantly.
“One cannot escape it, even if one wanted to,” Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM, told The Washington Post. “This is going to continue for a while.”
“Robust pay increases have been no match for the higher costs households are facing on rent, food, electricity, gasoline, and a pervasive list of both goods and services,” Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com, said, according to NBC News.
“The buying power of Americans is being squeezed more and more each day, and you see this reality reflected in the dour consumer sentiment readings.”