Inflation numbers rose in March to their highest levels in more than 40 years, according to the newly released Consumer Price Index (CPI) report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
In March 2022 alone, inflation rose 1.2%, outpacing economists’ expectations and greatly exceeding the 0.8% increase in February 2022. On an annual basis, inflation hit 8.5% – higher than the already elevated Dow Jones estimate of 8.4%, according to CNBC.
“Increases in the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase,” the CPI report said. “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. The food index rose 1.0 percent and the food at home index rose 1.5 percent.”
“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,” it added. “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.”
As explained by CNBC, “The data reflected price rises not seen in the U.S. since the stagflation days of the late 1970s and early ’80s. March’s headline reading in fact was the highest since December 1981.”
The outlet also noted that the record high inflation levels have resulted in the real wages of Americans decreasing last month.
“Due to the surge in inflation, worker wages, despite rising 5.6% from a year ago, weren’t keeping pace with the cost of living,” CNBC reported. “Real average hourly earnings posted a seasonally adjusted 0.8% decline for the month, according to a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics report.”
Due to the continuing inflation crisis, from March 2021 to March 2022 the real average weekly earnings of American workers decreased by 3.6%.
“Real average hourly earnings decreased 2.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, from March 2021 to March 2022. The change in real average hourly earnings combined with a decrease of 0.9 percent in the average workweek resulted in a 3.6-percent decrease in real average weekly earnings over this period,” the Bureau of Labor explained.