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Inflation cools as grocery prices drop for 1st time since 2020

Inflation cools as grocery prices drop for 1st time since 2020
Posted at 11:05 AM, Apr 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 12:05:01-04

The U.S. inflation rate over the last year dropped to 5% in March, according to consumer price index data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At 5%, the U.S. inflation dropped to its lowest level since May 2021. The national inflation rate peaked last June at 9.1%. 

For the month of March, the price of goods and services increased 0.1%, according to BLS data. The BLS data said that food consumed at home actually saw a 0.3% price decrease from the month before. March 2023 marked the first time since September 2020 that prices for food consumed at home dropped in a month. 

Over the last year, the price of food at home has increased 8.4%. 

The price of energy also dropped in March by a rate of 3.5%. 

Shelter prices continue to increase, as the BLS noted a 0.6% increase in costs in March. Shelter costs increased 8.2% over the previous year. 

SEE MORE: Consumer debt reached record levels in February

Inflation has remained an issue not just in the United States, but around the world. Other major industrial nations dealt with labor and supply chain disruptions following COVID-19. 

According to the latest figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Kingdom is reporting an inflation rate of 9.2%, Italy reports 9.1 and Germany is at 8.7%. 

Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen noted that the world’s economy was stabilizing. 

“Prices of commodities like food and energy have stabilized, supply chain pressures continue to ease and global growth projections remain higher than they were in the fall,” she said. 

But U.S. interest rates remain at their highest levels in nearly 15 years. Elevated interest rates are part of the Federal Reserve’s attempt to cool inflation. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has said the board’s goal is to get inflation back down to 2% annually.