Inflation, as measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Summary, jumped 9.1% in June compared to June of 2021. The number was higher than in any month since November 2008, with the price of fuel oil soaring. The news was staggeringly bad for an American economy that is likely on its way into recession because people’s purchasing power has been sharply eroded. (Inflation is an even greater hardship for people who are already struggling financially. This is the city where the most people rely on food stamps in every state.)
The debate among policy makers and economists about how to best tame inflation quickly has not yielded a solution. The Federal Reserve continues to raise rates, one of the few weapons it has in its central bank arsenal.
Some economists believe the Fed has been too slow. If it had begun raising rates earlier, as far back as last year, inflation may not have surged as much. Others think that if the Fed raised rates in 2021, it would have undermined economic expansion and pushed unemployment higher. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, commented about the inflation to new outlets, saying: “This report will make for very uncomfortable reading at the Fed.”
Among the most pessimistic experts who have formulated a suggested path out of rising inflation is Larry Summers, former U.S. treasury secretary and former president of Harvard. He is also considered among the most gifted economists of his generation. Summers recently told an audience at the London School of Economics: “We need five years of unemployment above 5% to contain inflation — in other words, we need two years of 7.5% unemployment or five years of 6% unemployment or one year of 10% unemployment.” Unemployment has not been over 7% since some of the worst days of the Great Recession.
Inflation’s effects have been uneven. While the year-over-year figure for all goods and services measured by the BLS in June was 9.1%, some items were up more than 20%. To determine the household items that are soaring in price, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the BLS’ Consumer Price Index Summary June report. Prices are compared to June 2021.
Gasoline prices lead the way with at least a 52% increase, depending on the type. Fuel oil prices nearly doubled. Some staple items on the American dinner table also rose. Butter prices rose 21%, and egg prices were 33% higher. Each of the 40 items on this list has jumped in price by 14% or more, with items ranging from baby food to milk and cookies to car body work. (Also see, this is the price of bacon and eggs the year you were born.)
The new CPI report makes one thing very clear. Inflation is so high across so many goods and services that Americans buy that there is no reason to believe the pace of the increase will come down soon.
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