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Inflation Jumps 7 Percent Annually in December, Fastest Pace Since 1982 The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Jan. 12 that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which reflects inflation from the perspective of end consumers, rose 7.0 percent in the 12 months through December, a level not seen since June 1982, when it hit 7.2 percent.

By The Epoch Times Edited by Charles Muselli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Consumer prices accelerated in the year through December at their fastest pace in 39 years, new government data shows, marking the seventh straight month of inflation running above 5 percent and a fresh sign that inflationary woes continue to weigh on American consumers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Jan. 12 that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which reflects inflation from the perspective of end consumers, rose 7.0 percent in the 12 months through December, a level not seen since June 1982, when it hit 7.2 percent.

"This is not a lucky number 7," Bankrate Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement, in which he noted that the pace of inflation was "far outstripping the wage growth of most Americans and squeezing the buying power of households."

A separate government report showed that real average hourly earnings, which are adjusted for inflation, fell 2.4 percent in the 12 months through December. Without adjustment for the pace of inflation, average hourly earnings rose 4.7 percent over the year.

"The headline rate of inflation accelerated on an annual basis, hitting 7 percent, but did decelerate on a monthly basis for the second month in a row, owing to a decline in energy and slower increases in food prices," McBride said.

On a monthly basis, the CPI inflation gauge rose 0.5 percent in December after November's 0.8 percent jump, suggesting a slight easing of inflationary pressures.

Still, so-called core consumer prices, which strip out the volatile categories of food and energy, continued to rise at an outsized pace. Core inflation rose 5.5 percent in the year through December, the fastest pace in nearly 31 years.

"Notable increases were seen in the food and shelter categories, with the usual suspects of used vehicles rising 3.5 percent, apparel up 1.7 percent, household furnishings increasing 1.1 percent, and new vehicles climbing another 1 percent—all just in the month of December," McBride said.

Annual CPI inflation has now been running at over 5 percent for seven straight months, well above the Fed's 2 percent target.

Charlie Bilello, CEO of Compound Capital Advisors, said on Twitter that he believes the true rate of inflation is being understated.

"Shelter is the single biggest component of CPI (33 percent of Index) and is being wildly understated (+4.1 percent) with rents up 17.8 percent over the last year (largest annual increase ever), and home prices up 19 percent (also largest annual increase ever). True inflation rate is much higher than 7 percent," he wrote.

President Joe Biden addressed Wednesday's inflation numbers in a statement.

"Today's report—which shows a meaningful reduction in headline inflation over last month, with gas prices and food prices falling—demonstrates that we are making progress in slowing the rate of price increases," Biden said.

"At the same time, this report underscores that we still have more work to do, with price increases still too high and squeezing family budgets," he added.

In response to surging inflation and ongoing firming in the labor market, the Federal Reserve has moved to roll back emergency pandemic support measures and normalize monetary policy.

There's now a 74.4 percent chance of the Fed making its first 25-basis point rate hike in March, according to the CME's Fed Watch tracker.

By Tom Ozimek

Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'

The Epoch Times, founded in 2000, is headquartered in Manhattan, New York, with a mission to provide independent and accurate information free of political bias or corporate influence. The organization was established in response to censorship within China and a lack of global awareness regarding the Chinese regime's repression of the spiritual practice Falun Gong.

The Epoch Times is a widely read newspaper that is distributed in 33 countries and is available in 21 languages. The publication has been critical in providing balanced and detailed reporting on major global events such as the 2003 SARS pandemic and the 2008 financial crisis. Notably, the organization has played a key role in exposing corruption inside China.

Aside from its human rights coverage, The Epoch Times has made significant contributions in a variety of fields. It has received praise for its in-depth analysis and expert perspectives on business, the economy and U.S. politics. The newspaper has also received praise for its broad coverage of these topics.

A series of editorials titled "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" appeared in The Epoch Times in 2004. It asserts that freedom and prosperity in China can only be achieved by eliminating the Communist Party, which violated China's cultural and spiritual values. In addition, the organization led the Tuidang movement, which resulted in over 400 million Chinese citizens quitting the Communist Party. In spite of this, 90% of websites referring to the "Nine Commentaries" were blocked by the Chinese regime.

The Epoch Times has been at the forefront of investigating high-level corruption cases within the Chinese regime, with its reporters taking significant risks to uncover these stories. The organization has received several awards for its investigative journalism.

The organization has received several awards for its investigative journalism. For more, visit www.theepochtimes.com.

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