U.S. inflation rose at the fastest pace in nearly four decades in December, at a level not seen since since June 1982, before President Ronald Reagan’s policies brought crippling late 1970s /early 1980s stagflation under control. Rapid price gains have fueled American consumer fears about the economy.
The consumer price index rose 7% in December from a year ago, according to a new Labor Department report released Wednesday, marking the fastest increase since June 1982, when inflation hit 7.1%. The CPI – which measures a bevy of goods ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents – jumped 0.5% in the one-month period from November.
So-called core prices, which exclude more volatile measurements of food and energy, soared 5.5% in December from the previous year – a sharp increase from November, when it rose 4.9%. It was the steepest 12-month increase since 1991.
Price increases were widespread: Although energy prices fell 1.1% in December from the previous month, they’re still up 29.3% from last year. Gasoline, on average, costs 49.6% than it did last year. Food prices have also climbed 6.3% higher over the year, while used car and truck prices – a major component of the inflation increase – are up 37.3%. Shelter costs, which make up nearly one-third of the total increase, jumped 0.4% for the month and 4.1% year-over-year, the fastest pace since February 2007.
Rising inflation is eating away at strong gains and wages and salaries that American workers have seen in recent months: Real average hourly earnings rose just 0.1% in December, as the 0.5% inflation increase eroded the 0.6% total wage gain, according to the Labor Department. On an annual basis, real earnings actually declined 2.4%.
MacDailyNews Take: A healthy U.S. economy, consumer confidence, and consumer spending are essential to Apple, as America is Apple’s largest market, by far.
‘Tis best to get a handle on inflation, if you know how, while you still can. – MacDailyNews, May 11, 2021
Inflation is repudiation. — Calvin Coolidge
When a business or an individual spends more than it makes, it goes bankrupt. When government does it, it sends you the bill. And when government does it for 40 years, the bill comes in two ways: higher taxes and inflation. Make no mistake about it, inflation is a tax and not by accident. — Ronald Reagan
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