US consumer inflation up 6.8% in past year, most since 1982

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prices for U.S. 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 since 1982. The Labor Department also reported Friday that from October to November, prices jumped 0.8%.

For months, many economists sounded a reassuring message that a spike in consumer prices, something that had been missing in action in the U.S. for a generation, wouldn’t stay long. It would prove “transitory,’’ in the soothing words of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and White House officials, as the economy shifted from virus-related chaos to something closer to normalcy.

Yet as any American who has bought a carton of milk, a gallon of gas or a used car could tell you, inflation has settled in.

Inflation has been intensifying pressure 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.

A recent AP-NORC survey finds half of Americans with a household income below $50,000 say recent price increases are having a major impact on their finances, compared to a third of those in higher-income households. This chart is current as of December 8, 2021 and will not update. Source: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

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