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US inflation rate moderates in February but remains high as Americans struggle with rising costs

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  • Staff Report 

In February, the rate of inflation in the US moderated once again due to a decline in energy costs. However, the cost of other goods continued to rise, putting pressure on Americans’ wallets. The consumer price index, which measures the price of everyday goods such as groceries, gasoline, and rent, rose 0.4% in February from the previous month. The index increased by 6% annually. Despite this, inflation is still three times higher than it was before the pandemic.

The rise in prices for food has been one of the most prominent reminders of the current inflation, with grocery prices rising by 0.4% on a monthly basis and 10.2% annually. Although the cost of everyday food items, such as bread and meat, increased, there were some significant declines in other areas, such as the cost of eggs, which fell by 6.7% in February.

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Shelter costs, which make up about 40% of the core inflation increase, rose by 0.8% in February and 8.1% annually. This includes rent, which increased by 0.8% monthly and 8.2% annually. Rising rent costs are particularly concerning because they have the most direct and acute impact on household budgets. The cost of equivalent rent for homeowners also rose by 0.8% from the previous month.

Energy costs decreased by 0.6% in February, providing some relief for Americans. Gas prices, however, increased by 1.7% over the month, although they are down by 2% compared to the previous year. Electricity costs rose by 0.1% in February and 12.9% annually.

Used car and truck prices, which have been a major contributor to inflation, fell by 1.4% in February, marking a 12-month decline of 13.6%. However, the cost of new cars increased by 0.3% in February and 6.3% annually.

Airline fares surged again in February, with prices rising by 6.3% from the previous month and 26.5% over the past year. The rise in core inflation suggests that the US is still on a plateau, and experts believe that inflation should start to decrease in the coming months, particularly as lower rent costs work their way into the data.

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