US consumer inflation highest in 40 years

Washington: Prices for US consumers jumped 6.8% in November compared with a year earlier as surging costs for food, energy, housing and other items left Americans enduring their highest annual inflation rate in 39 years.

The Labor Department also reported that prices rose 0.8% from October to November — a substantial increase, though slightly less than 0.9% increase from September to October, reports AP.

Inflation has been inflicting a heavy burden on consumers, especially lower-income households and particularly for everyday necessities. It has also negated the higher wages many workers have received, complicated the Federal Reserve’s plans to reduce its aid for the economy and coincided with flagging public support for President Joe Biden, who has been taking steps to try to ease inflation pressures.

Employers, struggling with worker shortages, have also been raising pay, and many of them have boosted prices to offset their higher labor costs, thereby adding to inflation.

The result has been price spikes for goods ranging from food and used vehicles to electronics, household furnishings and rental cars. The average price of a used vehicle rocketed nearly 28% from November 2020 to last month — to a record $29,011, according to data compiled by

The acceleration of prices, which began once the pandemic hit as Americans stuck at home flooded factories with orders for goods, has spread to services, from apartment rents and restaurant meals to medical services and entertainment. Even some retailers that built their businesses around the allure of ultra-low prices have begun boosting them.

The 6.8% jump in prices for the 12 months that ended in November was the largest year-over-year increase since a 7.1% surge for the year ending in June 1982. That spike occurred at a time when the Federal Reserve had driven up interest rates to double digits in its effort to stem runaway inflation triggered by the oil price shocks of the 1970s.

Some economists are holding out hope that inflation will peak in the coming months and then gradually ease and provide some relief for consumers. They note that supply shortages in some industries have begun to gradually ease. And while higher energy costs will continue to burden consumers in the coming months, Americans will likely be spared from earlier forecasts that energy prices would reach record highs over the winter.

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