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US consumer prices make biggest year-to-year jump in 13 years

US consumer prices make biggest year-to-year jump in 13 years
Consumer prices rose steadily yet again for the month of September, according to Department of Labor data, and the year-to-year increase is now the highest it’s been in years.

Consumer prices rose 0.4% in September, a slightly higher increase than in August. This puts the year-to-year increase at 5.4%, which is the biggest jump since 2008.

June and July also saw jumps in inflation, mostly due to the food and energy industries that have seen massive gains in prices this year, mainly due to staffing issues, as well as supply bottlenecks created by the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing raw costs for companies. 

Prices rose for groceries, gasoline (averaging its highest average price in years), heating fuel, rent, furniture and new vehicles, while airline fares, clothing and used vehicles saw price decreases.

Average hourly wages also increased for the month of September, but not enough to keep up with inflation, only rising 4.6%. 

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The Federal Reserve has described rising inflation as “transitory,” though many economists have disagreed and pointed to the increasingly rising costs across the board as reason for concern. 

Recent job reports have also been disappointing, with only 194,000 jobs being added to the economy in September, far below expectations. Unemployment, meanwhile, stands at 4.8%, higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic, and workers are quitting their jobs at a substantial rate. 

Labor Department data recently revealed that a whopping 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August, which was 2.9% of the workforce. 

Critics have pointed to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees as a major reason behind staffing issues currently plaguing various industries, as so many are walking away or being fired from their jobs for refusing to comply. 

The White House, however, has pushed back against negativity about the economy and mandates and insisted everything is on the right track. Press Secretary Jen Psaki even claimed this week that mandates are “good for the economy.”

Her comments followed thousands of flight cancellations at Southwest Airlines, which came after the enforcement of the mandate. Critics have since connected the two as being related, though the company’s CEO – and the White House – have denied the mandates are related to the airline’s recent struggles to keep up with demand. 

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