US inflation sets a fresh 40-year high over past year: 7.9%
Propelled by surging costs for gas, food and housing, consumer inflation jumped 7.9% over the past year, the sharpest spike since 1982 and likely only a harbinger of even higher prices to come.
The increase reported Thursday by the Labor Department reflected the 12 months ending in February and didn’t include most of the oil and gas price increases that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Since then, average gas prices nationally have jumped about 62 cents a gallon to $4.32, according to AAA.
Even before the war further accelerated price increases, robust consumer spending, solid pay raises and persistent supply shortages had sent U.S. consumer inflation to its highest level in four decades. What’s more, housing costs, which make up about a third of the government’s consumer price index, have risen sharply, a trend that’s unlikely to reverse anytime soon.
The government’s report Thursday also showed that inflation rose 0.8% from January to February, up from the 0.6% increase from December to January.