Consumer prices in the United States rose 8.5 percent in March compared to a year prior, the biggest increase since late 1981, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.
The report was the first to encompass the surge in gas prices driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which drove up energy prices worldwide, triggered sanctions from Western nations and disrupted many markets, including global food supply.
According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline nationwide is $4.09, down significantly from the record high of $4.331 reached last month after Russia invaded Ukraine. The price is up 43% from a year ago, but prices have fallen steadily in recent weeks.
“Across the economy, the year-over-year price spikes were widespread in March. Gasoline prices have rocketed 48% in the past 12 months. Used car prices have soared 35.3%, though they actually fell in February and March. Bedroom furniture is up 14.7%, men’s jackets suits and coats 14.5%. Grocery prices have jumped 10%, including 18% increases for both bacon and oranges,” the Associated Press reports.
“Even excluding volatile food and energy prices, which have driven overall inflation, so-called core inflation jumped 6.5% over the past 12 months, the biggest such increase since 1982.”
On Monday, Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said the price of oil has come down slightly but said that “Putin’s price hike” would be reflected in the latest inflation data.
“At the end of the day, prices are too high. American families are feeling that,” Deese said. “We need to take every action we can to try to make things more affordable and provide some relief as the Fed acts the way we anticipate it will.”