Inflation ran red-hot again in January, with consumer prices surging to a fresh four-decade high of 7.5%, the feds said on Thursday.
The latest spike — which jumped past economists’ expectations for a 7.2% jump — marked the highest annual increase since February 1982 for the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, a closely tracked inflation gauge that details the costs of goods and services such as food, gas and rent.
“Increases in the indexes for food, electricity, and shelter were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a release.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased 0.6% compared to December, according to the BLS. The core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and gas prices, rose 0.6% in January and 6% over the last 12 months.
The latest figures will only heighten scrutiny of the Federal Reserve’s plan to tighten monetary policy following a lenient approach during the COVID-19 pandemic. The central bank is expected to enact its first interest rate hike in more than three years in March, with several more hikes expected throughout the year as the Fed seeks to curb inflation.