Key inflation measure jumps to highest level since January 1982

The Consumer Price Index, which measures a basket of goods and services, stood at 7.9% over the 12-month period that ended in February, without seasonal adjustments, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. That was in line with what economists had predicted.

Prices for gas, food and housing – which are necessary rather than discretionary spending – drove the February price increases.

February prices rose 0.8%, adjusted for seasonal swings, more than in January. Gasoline prices alone rose 6.6% and contributed nearly a third of the overall inflation increase.

Food prices rose 1% last month, the largest monthly increase since April 2020.

About a third of the 24-cent a gallon increase in the price of regular gas occurred in the final five days of the month, after Russia invaded Ukraine, according to data collected for AAA by the Oil Price Information Service. But prices have soared since then, with the price of a gallon of regular gas rising by 71 cents, or about 20%, just since the end of February to stand at $ 4.36 a gallon on Thursday.

The White House is bracing for a high inflation number, press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday, on the back of rising energy costs, which have spiked since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began. She added that rising prices in pandemic-related sectors, such as travel and dining, are also expected as the US recovers from the Omicron wave of the coronavirus.

This is a developing story. It will be updated

CNN’s Betsy Klein and Chris Isidore contributed to this report.

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