Consumer prices surged 5% in May from a year ago, the highest annual rise in inflation since 2008, according to government data released Thursday.
The Consumer Price Index showed that prices rose .06% higher in May from April. The index measures consumer prices for goods and services, including groceries, clothes and vehicles.
As the COVID-19 pandemic eases and demand increases, prices are rising for a wide variety of goods and services. Supply-chain bottlenecks are contributing to shortages of everything from semiconductor chips to lumber.
The chip shortage has caused a spike in the price of new cars, which has resulted in rising demand for used cars.
The Labor Department said core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, rose 0.7% in May after an even bigger 0.9% increase in April, and has risen 3.8% over the past year. That is the sharpest 12-month jump in core inflation since 1992 and far above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target for annual price increases.
Among specific items in May, prices for used vehicles, which had surged by a record 10% in April, shot up an additional 7.3% and accounted for one-third of May’s overall price jump. The price of new cars, too, rose 1.6% – the largest one-month increase since 2009.
Conservatives said the data was more proof that President Biden’s spending policies will hurt the economy.
“Joe Biden is simultaneously flooding the economy with federal spending while unnecessarily paying people not to work — a recipe for disaster,” said David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth. “At every point, Biden has put the priorities of the radical socialist wing of his party first, and this is why American families are seeing skyrocketing prices and a stalled recovery.”
Sen. Bill Hagerty, Tennessee Republican and a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said Mr. Biden’s “partisan trillion-dollar spending sprees are raising prices on groceries and gas and everything in between.”
“This hurts Tennessee’s poorest families and workers the most, and is a clear and immediate tax on the middle class — something President Biden said he would not impose,” Mr. Hagerty said. “Unless our supply chains normalize quickly to meet pent-up demand from the pandemic, this tax hike on the American people will continue and could go even higher.”
• This article is based in part on wire-service reports.