Consumer Prices Reach Highest Rates In Four Decades


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Consumer prices reached the highest rates in four decades, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May 2022 climbed 8.6% in the last year, making it increasingly difficult for American consumers to afford everyday goods. This is the largest 12-month increase since 1981, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The gasoline index rose 4.1%, food by 1.2%, energy by 3.9% and the food at home index increased 1.4%, BLS reported. Almost all aspects of American purchases increased in May, including shelter, airline fares, new and used cars and trucks, medical care, household furnishings and operations, recreation and clothing, according to BLS.

The CPI measures the overall change in prices paid by American consumers for goods and services, regardless of occupation. It does not include the spending patterns in rural areas, farming families, men and women in the Armed Forces and individuals in prisons or mental institutions, according to BLS.

The overall rise of 8.6% is higher than the 8.3% initially predicted by analysts, the New York Post reported.

The climbing cost of living has been blamed for President Joe Biden’s sinking approval ratings. CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten said in early May that the American people should blame Biden for his “awful” economic polling numbers after the outlet found that 77% of Americans believe current economic conditions are bad.

Heightened spending of pandemic savings, a lack of goods and pressures in the service sector contributed to soaring rates of inflation, according to The New York Times. Gas prices remain the largest cause for concern as they have fueled the soaring cost of food and health care, the New York Post noted.

Analysts have suggested that the cost of a barrel will approach or surpass $140 this summer. The more that gas rises above the current $5 a gallon average, the greater the risk of recession, CNBC noted.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday she does not expect the economy to tip into a recession, according to the New York Post. (RELATED: Global Food Shortages Are Beginning, Here’s What We Know So Far)

Yellen’s contrast with remarks from World Bank Group President David Malpass, who said in May it was difficult to “see how we avoid a recession.” Similar concerns were echoed by Bank of America, which issued a dire warning to Americans about the near economic future of the country.

BlackRock President Rob Kapito predicted in March that an “entitled generation” was about to be shocked by the upcoming shortages in labor and raw material, which are already removing normal items from shelves.