Inflation hit 40-year high in February

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis;  Graphics: Axios Visuals
Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Graphics: Axios Visuals

Inflation continued to rise in February, according to new government data.

Send the news: Prices for the goods and services Americans consume rose 6.4% in the 12 months ended February, according to new government data, the highest since 1982 and up 6% in January.

  • The Federal Reserve’s preferred personal consumption price index posted an annualized inflation of 5.4%, even excluding volatile food and energy, up 5.2% and well above 2% that the Fed is pursuing.

By the numbers: For the month, prices were up 0.5%, or 0.4% excluding food and energy.

  • Contrary to the pattern for most of the pandemic, inflation for durable goods was zero, while it was 1.8% for non-durable goods and 0.3% for services.
  • In February alone, food prices rose by 1.4% and energy prices by 3.7%, partly explaining consumer dissatisfaction with inflation.

The glass half full story: Month-on-month, core inflation fell slightly to 0.4% after four consecutive months at 0.5%.

  • Glass half empty: That still amounts to an uncomfortably high 4.9% on an annual basis.

The new lectures on inflation, incomes and consumer spending predate the effects of the war in Ukraine, which began at the end of February. The war is likely to contribute to a rise in energy and food prices in the coming months.

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