Consumer prices spiked 4.2% in the last 12 months

Consumer prices spiked sharply in April, according to new data released Wednesday by the Department of Labor.

The consumer price index, a barometer that measures what consumers pay for everyday goods and services, jumped by 4.2% in the year through April, the DOL said. It rose by 0.8% in April alone.

This marks the largest one-year increase seen since September 2008.

Prices for used vehicles skyrocketed by 10% in April, marking the largest 1-month increase since record-keeping for the series began in 1953. This was fueled in part by a global chip shortage and served as a significant contributor to the overall consumer prices increase.

Meanwhile, the food index increased 0.4% in April, the DOL said. Prices of energy decreased by a fraction of a percentage point — though this will likely change as the Colonial Pipeline situation continues to unfold.

The core index, which excludes volatile food and energy indexes, jumped by 3% over the past 12 months and 0.9% in April alone.

The closely watched data comes amid mounting fears of inflation from investors, but also reflects unique factors as the pandemic recovery is finally gaining steam.

While the consumer price increase is higher-than-expected, it will take months to gain a fuller picture as to what the impact of inflation on a pandemic-battered economy will be. A confluence of pent-up demand, easing restrictions and pandemic stimulus programs likely contributed to figures released Wednesday.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped following the release of the data, pointing to opening losses as investors grapple with concerns over inflation.


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