Inflation surges 8.5% in March, marking a four-decade high

Person checking their receipt shocked at the price.
Person checking their receipt shocked at the price. Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

On Tuesday, the Labor Department shared that the consumer price index rose by 8.5% in March from March of 2021, the fastest increase since December 1981.

Inflation has continued to break records that have stood for decades, fueled by high consumer demand, supply chain issues, and the Russian war in Ukraine.

Prices jumped 1.2% in the one-month period from February, which was the largest jump from month to month since 2005, all but wiping out the benefits of wages increasing for most Americans.

The White House said on Monday they were preparing for the “extraordinarily elevated” inflation numbers in the report from the Labor Department.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki blamed the rise in inflation on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Monday, as the war has caused the energy industry to become increasingly volatile.

“Because of the actions we’ve taken to address the Putin price hike, we are in a better place than we were last month. But we expect March CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated, due to Putin’s price hike,” Psaki said.

The increase in the consumer price index was expected as economists expected a rise of around 8.4% in March and 1.2% on a monthly basis, Fox News reported.

The projections were correct, with the consumer price index increasing along with core prices which rose 6.5%. Core prices exclude food and energy costs. The increase was the highest for a 12-month increase since August 1982.

Among the areas to see a staggering increase from March to the last month were: energy, which rose 11%, and gas, 18.3%. Compared to a year ago, energy prices are up 32% while gas is up 48%.

Food also shot up, with prices rising 1% over the month and 8.8% compared to last year. Bakery products were up 10%, poultry, fish, and meat were up 13.8%, fresh fruits and vegetables went up 8.1%, and eggs 11.2% compared to a year ago.

To the dismay of many getting their license for the first time this year, used car and truck prices have also been a victim of inflation. The vehicles are up 35.3% from the previous year even though they dropped by 1.8% from February to March.

With prices continuing to rise, several polls have shown that Americans think that inflation is the biggest issue plaguing the nation, with two-thirds of Americans saying they have had to make cutbacks because of the increase in prices.

Americans have also shared that they wish President Joe Biden would do more to fight inflation, as his approval rating continues to plummet.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images