U.S. Consumer Prices Rose 8.5% in March

The consumer price index, which measures a wide-ranging basket of goods and services, jumped 8.5% from a year ago on an unadjusted basis, above even the already elevated Dow Jones estimate for 8.4%.

Excluding food and energy, the CPI increased 6.5%, in line with the expectation. The data reflected price rises not seen in the U.S. since the stagflation days of the late 1970s and early ’80s. March’s headline reading in fact was the highest since December 1981. Core inflation was the hottest since August 1982.


Food rose 1% for the month and 8.8% over the year, as prices for goods such as rice, ground beef, citrus fruits and fresh vegetables all posted gains of more than 2% in March. Energy prices were up 11% and 32%, respectively, as gasoline prices popped 18.3% for the month, boosted by the war in Ukraine and the pressure it is exerting on supply.

One sector that has been a major driver in the inflation burst subsided in March. Used car and truck prices declined 3.8% for the month, though they are still up 35.3% on the year. Also, commodity prices excluding food and energy fell by 0.4%.