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Inflation Reaches 8.6% in May, Highest Increase in 40 Years

Updated: 21 hours ago

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) rose 8.6% year over year in May 2022. This is the highest level since December 1981, pressuring employers to raise wages to keep pace.

The inflation rate increase was broad, with the indexes for shelter, gasoline and food being the most significant contributors. After declining in April, the energy index rose 3.9% over the month. The food index also increased 1.2%.

Notably, gasoline prices jumped 4.1% just in May and have climbed nearly 50% from a year ago. Prices at the pump continue to rise this month. According to American Automobile Association (AAA), the national average price at the pump was $4.99 on June 10. Gasoline is a daily expenditure for most workers, so hiked inflation has a real-time impact on them.

“Virtually every sector has higher-than-normal inflation. It’s made its way into every nook and cranny of the economy.” -Ethan Harris, head of global economic research at Bank of America

The May CPI measure came in higher than consensus expectations that the annual rate would stay unchanged at 8.3%, indicating that signs of inflation peaking in April were incorrect. For reference, the CPI sat at 8.5% in March.

What’s Next?

On June 15th, we witnessed a 0.75-point hike on interest rates, the third hike this year and the largest since 1994. By sharply raising borrowing costs, the Fed hopes to cool spending and growth enough to curb inflation while avoiding a recession.

Although wages are generally up as employers strive to meet workers’ demands, they have not matched the increase in inflation yet.

Employers should continue to monitor inflation trends, as it may impact expenditure, supply chains and employees. Reach out to The Siekmann Company for additional resources on navigating economic uncertainty amid sustained high inflation.

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