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Inflation increased 8.3% in April, higher than estimates

For the first time in nearly a year, US inflation has steadied a little, however it reamins close to March’s 40-year high of 8.5%, and food prices rose at the fastest pace since April 1981.

The consumer price index, a broad-based measure of prices for goods and services, increased 8.3% from a year ago, higher than the Dow Jones estimate for an 8.1% gain.

Removing volatile food and energy prices, so-called core CPI still rose 6.2%, against expectations for a 6% gain, clouding hopes that inflation had peaked in March.

The month-over-month gains also were higher than expectations — 0.3% on headline CPI versus the 0.2% estimate and a 0.6% increase for core, against the outlook for a 0.4% gain.

The price gains also meant that workers continued to lose ground. Real wages adjusted for inflation decreased 0.1% on the month despite a nominal increase of 0.3% in average hourly earnings. Over the past year, real earnings have dropped 2.6% even though average hourly earnings are up 5.5%.

Inflation has been the single biggest threat to a recovery that began early in the Covid pandemic and saw the economy in 2021 stage its biggest single-year growth level since 1984. Rising prices at the pump and in grocery stores have been one problem, but inflation has spread beyond those two areas and into housing, auto sales and a host of other areas.

Federal Reserve officials have responded to the problem with two interest rate hikes so far this year and pledges of more until inflation comes down to the central bank’s 2% goal.

The CPI gains came even though energy prices declined 2.7% for the month, including a 6.1% drop for gasoline. The BLS food index rose 0.9% in April, countering the deceleration in energy. On a 12-month basis, energy costs were still up 30.3% while food rose 9.4%, according to unadjusted data. Gasoline costs at the pump this week reached their highest level ever not adjusted for inflation.

“We’re starting to see energy pull back a little bit, but it’s not enough,” said Kathy Jones, chief fixed income strategist at Charles Schwab. “The markets were hoping for a better number and it’s not good enough to rule out more Fed tightening.”

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: Q13FOX.COM

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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