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With the December release of the Consumer Price Index by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today, the final tally for 2022’s monster inflation is in. Inflation cooled towards the end of the year, with last month’s year-over-year price increases standing at 6.5 percent. Yet, annual average inflation in the United States still adds up to a gigantic 8 percent.
Looking at the previous three decades, no year saw inflation quite like the last one. Data available through the St. Louis Fed shows that only one year, 1990, topped the 5-percent mark in this time period. 2021 had the second-highest reading at 4.7 percent with inflation speeding up toward the end of the year while global supply chains were in a knot following the Covid-19 pandemic.
2022 started out with inflation already highly elevated. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February, rates climbed even higher, reaching a peak of 9.1 percent year-over-year inflation in June. Sanctions against Russia – a major fossil fuel and agricultural exporter – limited supplies on global markets, driving up prices for energy and food before all others.
This chart shows the annual inflation rate in the United States (1990-2022).
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