Soaring gasoline and food prices helped drive up the U.S. Consumer Price Index, an indicator of inflation, by four-tenths of a percent in April, the Labor Department said on Friday.
April’s CPI data capped off a 12-month time period of the most rampant inflation since October 2008, the Labor Department release said. The past year saw the CPI, an index that measures the price increases of a select basket of basic goods, rise by a seasonally-unadjusted 3.2 percent.
U.S. consumers shopping for groceries and pumping gas saw their wallets increasingly thinned in April, albeit at a milder rate compared to March. Food prices jumped 0.4 percent and gas prices leapt 3.3 percent last month, compared to 0.8 percent and 5.6 percent increases in March.
Almost all types of groceries were pricier with the exception of fresh vegetables, which bucked the trend and buoyed a deceleration in rising food costs. The CPI’s fresh vegetables index dropped 2.7 percent and the fruits and vegetables index fell by 1.1 percent in April.Energy costs rose by 2.2 percent last month. Over the past 12 months, gas prices have risen by 33.1 percent and the overall energy index has climbed by 19 percent.
Even though U.S. inflation reached its highest peak in two and a half years, price rises slowed significantly in April, marking positive news for economists and analysts who feared runaway inflation might put a damper on the economic recovery.