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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Emerging from pandemic lockdown is shaping up to be pricey. Traveling, eating out and even refreshing your wardrobe costs more, per April inflation data out today.

Why it matters: The economy is reopening and suddenly Americans want in on the activities they've gone a year without. The data shows how much that sudden demand has helped push prices higher — at least for now.

Catch up quick: Year-over-year prices rose 4.2% — the steepest climb since 2008, Axios' Hope King reports. It's coming off the weaker readings from last year when the pandemic hit.

  • On a monthly basis, the index rose 0.8%, much higher than the 0.2% economists expected.
  • A historic surge in used car and truck prices accounted for more than a third of the increase: Prices last month jumped the most (+10%) in the index's 68-year history, thanks to the chip shortage that's zapped car supply.

Other categories with "unprecedented" monthly increases, per Barclays: lodging away from home (+8%) and airline fares (+10%).

  • The apparel index — clothes, shoes, jewelry — rose 0.3%, its first bump since January. Food away from home continued to rise last month, but so did food at home.
  • The surge is "unlikely to be sustained," says Michael Gapen, Barclays' chief economist.

The big question critical to the timeline for fuller economic recovery is how long the higher prices spurred by more demand — or higher input costs caused by a growing list of shortages passed along to consumers — stick around.

Go deeper

Biden administration approves major increase to SNAP benefits

A sign noting the acceptance of EBT cards that are used by state welfare departments to issue benefits is displayed at a convenience store in California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Monday announced a major permanent increase to food assistance benefits, providing additional aid to low-income families.

Why it matters: It's the largest increase in the history of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), with average monthly benefits set to rise by around $36 per person.

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 7 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.