Consumer prices on the rise after pandemic lull
Consumer prices are rising again — in contrast to this time last year, when they were falling as America responded to the first wave of the pandemic.
Driving the news: Per this morning's data release of the Consumer Price Index for March, they're now 0.6% above where they were last month, 2.6% above where they were last year, and 2.3% above their level in February 2020.
- Gasoline prices, which are much more volatile than most consumer prices, accounted for almost half the overall increase.
The big picture: Inflation has been too low — which is to say, below the Fed's 2% target — for well over a decade. The big question about the current pace of price gains is whether they will be temporary, as the White House expects, or whether they will kick-start a dangerously self-fulfilling upward price spiral.