Annual inflation rises to 6.8%, the highest rate since 1982

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(The Hill) — Consumer prices surged 6.8% in the year leading into November and 0.8% last month alone as a roaring economy overwhelmed struggling supply chains and fueled inflation, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

The consumer price index (CPI), a closely watched gauge of inflation, rose sharply in November as retailers, warehouses, suppliers and shipping companies scrambled to meet intense demand. 

Economists expected the CPI to rise 0.7% in November and 6.7% annually after year-over-year inflation rose to 6.2% in October, the highest rate in 30 years.

November’s annual inflation rate of 6.8% is the highest since 1982.

While November’s inflation surge had been widely projected, the steady upward pressure on prices is a significant strain for cash-strapped households and a political threat to President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers.

Biden and his party have sought to emphasize the many strong points of the recovery from the COVID-19 recessions, which was powered in part by a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill the president signed in March. The unemployment rate sank to 4.2% as the labor market expanded in November, consumer spending has risen above pre-pandemic levels, wage growth has accelerated and the stock market has rallied to new record highs.

Even so, the persistence of high inflation has overwhelmed much of those gains in the eyes of the public and taken the steepest toll on those least able to afford it.

Economists have expressed confidence that inflation will finally begin to ease next year as the global economy shakes off the COVID-19 pandemic.

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