Inflation grew worse in February amid the escalating crisis in Ukraine and price pressures that became more entrenched.
The consumer price index, which measures a wide-ranging basket of goods and services, increased 7.9% over the past 12 months, a fresh 40-year high for the closely followed gauge.
The February acceleration was the fastest pace since January1982, back when the US economy confronted the twin threat of higher inflation and reduced economic growth.
On a month-over-month basis, the CPI gain was 0.8%. Economists surveyed by the Dow Jones had expected headline inflation to increase 7.8% for the year and 0.7% for the month.
Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core inflation rose 6.4%, in line with estimates and the highest since August 1982. On a monthly basis, core CPI was up 0.5, also consistent with Wall Street expectations.
The inflation surge is in keeping with price gains over the past year. Inflation has roared higher amid an unprecedented government spending blitz coupled with persistent supply-chain disruptions that has been unable to keep up with stimulus-fueled demand, particularly for goods over services.
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