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‘Unusually high’ inflation: Consumer costs rose again in February

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Consumer prices jumped again in February, in part driven by a significant rise in gasoline prices, according to newly released federal inflation data.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index Tuesday, a leading marker of inflation, which showed prices rose 0.4% in February and 3.2% over the past year.

Prices rose 0.3% in January.

Jason Furman, Harvard professor and former economic advisor to President Barack Obama, took note of the inflation data on X, formerly known as Twitter, calling it “unusually high.”

“Core CPI came in high for the eighth month in a row,” he said.

“For perspective, the 3/6/12 month rates higher than any time from 1992-2019,” he added. “Inflation remains unusually high.”

The increase in prices was powered in part by the rise in gasoline prices and shelter prices.

“The index for shelter rose in February, as did the index for gasoline. Combined, these two indexes contributed over sixty percent of the monthly increase in the index for all items,” BLS said. “The energy index rose 2.3 percent over the month, as all of its component indexes increased. The food index was unchanged in February, as was the food at home index. The food away from home index rose 0.1 percent over the month.”

Some items rose in price faster than the average index for February. For instance, clothing prices rose 0.6% last month, and used cars and trucks rose 0.5%. Meanwhile, food prices remained steady.

Inflation soared in the first half of President Joe Biden’s term but had slowed in the past year. The latest data could signal a resurgence of prices, which have increased more than 17% since Biden took office.

Biden took fire from Republicans after the data was released.

“The latest numbers confirm: Joe Biden’s crushing inflation is far from over,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “And American families are still suffering from Biden’s reckless policies.”