WASHINGTON, D. C., AP – Inflation in the United States soared over the past year at its highest rate in four decades, hammering consumers, wiping out pay raises and reinforcing the central bank’s decision to begin raising borrowing rates across the economy.
The Labor Department said on Thursday that consumer prices jumped 7.5 per cent last month compared with 12 months earlier, the steepest year-over-year increase since February 1982.
Shortages of supplies and workers, heavy doses of federal aid, ultra-low interest rates and robust consumer spending combined to send inflation accelerating in the past year.
When measured from December 2021 to January 2022, inflation was 0.6 per cent, the same as the previous month and more than economists had expected.
Prices had risen 0.7 per cent from October to November and 0.9 per cent from September to October.
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There are few signs that inflation will slow significantly any time soon.
Most of the factors that have forced up prices since the northern hemisphere spring remain in place: wages are rising at the fastest pace in at least 20 years.
Ports and warehouses are overwhelmed, with hundreds of workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the country’s busiest, out sick last month.
Many products and parts remain in short supply as a result.