On Tuesday morning, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest information on inflation.
The report notes that the all items index continued to accelerate, rising 8.5 percent for the 12 months ending March, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending December 1981.
The all items less food and energy index rose 6.5 percent, the largest 12-month change since the period ending August 1982. The energy index rose 32.0 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 8.8 percent, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending May 1981.
“The big news in the March report was that core price pressures finally appear to be moderating,” wrote Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. Hunter said he thinks the March increase will “mark the peak” for inflation as year-over-year comparisons drive the numbers lower and energy prices subside.
Due to the surge in inflation, real earnings, despite rising 5.6% from a year ago, still weren’t keeping pace with the cost of living. Real average hourly earnings posted a seasonally adjusted 0.8% decline for the month, according to a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
The Labor Department report shows that Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.2 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.8 percent in February.
Increases in the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The gasoline index rose 18.3 percent in March and accounted for over half of the all items monthly increase; other energy component indexes also increased.
Food rose 1% for the month and 8.8% over the year, as prices for goods such as rice, ground beef, citrus fruits and fresh vegetables all posted gains of more than 2% in March. Energy prices were up 11% and 32% respectively as gasoline prices popped 18.3% for the month, boosted by the war in Ukraine and the pressure it is exerting on supply.