For the 12-month period ending in May 2022, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) — the most widely used measure of inflation — increased 8.6%, the fastest pace in 40 years.1 The rate may trend downward as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and supply-chain issues improve. But inflation is likely to be relatively high for some time. High inflation not only hits consumers in the pocketbook for current spending, it also has a negative impact on the future … [Read more...]
High Inflation: How Long Will It Last?
In March 2022, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), the most common measure of inflation, rose at an annual rate of 8.5%, the highest level since December 1981.1 It's not surprising that a Gallup poll at the end of March found that one out of six Americans considers inflation to be the most important problem facing the United States.2 When inflation began rising in the spring of 2021, many economists, including policymakers at the Federal Reserve, believed the increase … [Read more...]
Food Inflation: What’s Behind It and How to Cope
As measured by the Consumer Price Index for food at home, grocery prices increased 3.4% in 2020, a faster rate than the 20-year historical average of 2.4%.1 More recently, food inflation accelerated by 6.5% during the 12 months ending in December 2021, while prices for the category that includes meat, poultry, fish, and eggs spiked 12.5%.2 Food prices have long been prone to volatility, in part because the crops grown to feed people and livestock are vulnerable to pests and … [Read more...]
Inflation Cuts into Wage Gains
Driven by labor shortages, median hourly wages increased at an annual rate of 5.2% in December 2021, the highest level since June 2001. However, inflation cuts into buying power, and real wages — adjusted for inflation — actually dropped as inflation spiked in 2021. By contrast, negative inflation (deflation) during the Great Recession sent real wages skyrocketing temporarily even as non-adjusted wage growth declined. Sources: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 2022, and U.S. Bureau of … [Read more...]