NATIONAL NEWS

US inflation reached a new 40-year high in June of 9.1%

Jul 13, 2022, 6:48 AM
A Chevron gas station is seen on July 05, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Gasoline prices in Houston and ar...
A Chevron gas station is seen on July 05, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Gasoline prices in Houston and around the country have fallen for three consecutive weeks according to the tech company Gasbuddy. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Surging prices for gas, food and rent catapulted U.S. inflation to a new four-decade peak in June, further pressuring households and likely sealing the case for another large interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve, with higher borrowing costs to follow.

Consumer prices soared 9.1% compared with a year earlier, the government said Wednesday, the biggest 12-month increase since 1981, and up from an 8.6% jump in May. On a monthly basis, prices rose 1.3% from May to June, another substantial increase, after prices had jumped 1% from April to May.

The ongoing price increases underscore the brutal impact that inflation has inflicted on many families, with the costs of necessities, in particular, rising much faster than average incomes. Lower-income and Black and Hispanic Americans have been hit especially hard, because a disproportionate share of their income goes toward such essentials as housing, transportation and food.

Some economists have held out hope that inflation might be reaching or nearing a short-term peak. Gas prices, for example, have fallen from the eye-watering $5 a gallon reached in mid-June to an average of $4.66 nationwide as of Tuesday — still far higher than a year ago but a drop that could help slow inflation for July and possibly August.

In addition, shipping costs and commodity prices have begun to fall. Pay increases have slowed. And surveys show that Americans’ expectations for inflation over the long run have eased — a trend that often points to more moderate price increases over time.

Yet for now, the relentless spike in inflation has caused a steep drop in consumers’ confidence in the economy, sent President Joe Biden’s approval ratings tumbling and posed a major political threat to Democrats in the November congressional elections. Forty percent of adults said in a June AP-NORC poll that they thought tackling inflation should be a top government priority this year, up from just 14% who said so in December.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2020 pandemic recession, as Americans focused their spending on items for the home, like furniture, appliances and exercise equipment, supply chains became overwhelmed and prices for physical goods soared. But as consumer spending has gradually shifted away from goods and toward services like vacation travel, restaurants meals, movies, concerts and sporting events, some of the highest price increases have occurred in services.

Housing, in particular, has been seized by some of the highest inflation rates in the economy, causing hardships for many. A shortage of houses for sale has sent home prices skyrocketing just as mortgage rates have also soared.

With many people priced out of the market for houses and looking instead to rent, demand for apartments has sent rental rates beyond affordable levels. The national median home price jumped 14.8% in May from a year earlier to $407,600. That’s an all-time high according to data to 1999, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The persistence of high inflation has unnerved Chair Jerome Powell and other Fed officials, who are engaged in the fastest series of rate hikes since the late 1980s to try to slow the price spikes. The central bank is expected to raise its key short-term rate later this month by a hefty three-quarters of a point, as it did last month, with potentially more large rate hikes to follow.

Powell has stressed that the central bank wants to see “compelling evidence” that inflation is slowing before it would dial back its rate hikes. Such evidence would need to be a “series of declining monthly inflation readings,” Powell said at a news conference last month.

Many economists worry that the Fed’s drive to quell inflation will cause it to tighten credit too aggressively even while the economy, by some measures, is slowing. Much higher borrowing costs could trigger a recession, potentially by next year.

Consumers have started to pull back on spending, home sales are falling as mortgage rates rise and factory output slipped in May. Yet steadily robust job growth points to an economy that is still expanding, with little sign of an imminent recession.

Though inflation is likely to slow later this year, it’s not clear by how much. Oil prices fell Tuesday to about $96 a barrel. And other commodities, including metals such as copper, have also become less expensive, mostly because of recession fears in both the United States and Europe.

With fewer ships stuck at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, America’s largest, shipping costs for international freight have fallen. Wholesale gas prices have fallen to about $3.40 a gallon, which suggests that retail prices could drop to as low as $4.20 by August, according to Omair Sharif, founder of Inflation Insights.

And wholesale used car prices are also falling, which point to declining used car prices in the coming months.

Yet plenty of items are still rising in price, notably apartment rents. The average cost of new leases has jumped 14% in the past year, according to real estate brokerage Redfin, to an average of $2,016 a month.

Rents as measured by the government’s inflation index have risen more slowly because they include all rents, including existing leases. But economists expect the rising expense of new leases to send the government’s inflation measure higher in coming months.

Inflation has spiked overseas as well. It reached 9.1% in the United Kingdom in May, the highest level in four decades, driven mostly by higher gas and food prices. Annual inflation in the eurozone’s 19 countries hit 8.6% in June, surging past the 8.1% recorded in May. Inflation is now at its highest level since recordkeeping for the euro began in 1997.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Saginaw Police K9 Cigan sits behind a table with evidence found inside a stolen car. (WNEM)...
Anna Kathman

Stolen vehicle, multiple drugs located by Michigan K9 officer

Saginaw Police said two suspects are behind bars after a stolen vehicle was located during a traffic stop by a K9 officer.
15 hours ago
A 29-year old woman has been arrested after allegedly posing as a teenager and attending classes at...
Kiely Westhoff and Zoe Sottile, CNN

29-year-old woman posed as high school teen facing charges in New Jersey, police say

A 29-year-old New Jersey woman is facing charges over claims she used false government documents in a ploy to pose as a teenager at a high school, according to police.
15 hours ago
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on November ...
Meg Kinnard and Michelle L. Price

Trump says beating of Nichols ‘never should have happened’

Former President Donald Trump says the footage of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers is “horrible” and that the attack “never should have happened.”
2 days ago
One the of climbers in the training camp climbing a wall. (KSL-TV's Alex Cabrero)...
Alex Cabrero

USA Climbing Camp for Paris 2024 begins in Salt Lake City

As the Summer 2024 Olympic Games draws closer, those athletes looking to participate begin their training. 
2 days ago
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 7:  Police investigate the scene of a reported carjacking reportedly...
Adrian Sainz

Memphis police disband unit that fatally beat Tyre Nichols

The Memphis Police Department has disbanded the special unit whose officers beat to death motorist Tyre Nichols
2 days ago
Demonstrators participate in a protest against the police killing of Tyre Nichols on January 27, 20...
Adrian Sainz, Associated Press

Memphis authorities release video in Tyre Nichols’ death

Video showing five Memphis officers beating Tyre Nichols, a Black man, has been made public.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
US inflation reached a new 40-year high in June of 9.1%