Americans Receive Temporary Inflation Reprieve, but Food Prices Remain a Concern

January US Consumer Inflation Moderated, but Fell Short of Expectations

Americans got a small reprieve from some of the steepest price hikes in four decades, as inflation eased off less than expected in January. The first measure of inflation for 2024, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), showed that prices rose by 3.1% for the 12 months ended in January, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday. While this marks a step back from December’s 3.4% rate, it is still far from the relief many Americans were hoping for.

On a monthly basis, CPI rose by 0.3% in January, with stubbornly high shelter costs accounting for two-thirds of the gain. However, consumers got a bit of relief from falling gas prices; food prices (which thankfully are no longer outpacing overall inflation) rose at the highest monthly rate in a year.

“Food prices kept going up, and that’s a real pain point,” Robert Frick, corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union, told CNN. “There’s the rate of inflation, which is coming down, then there’s the weight of inflation, which continues to mount. So even if you have 3%, that’s 3% on top of a mountain of inflation people are already carrying.” Economists were expecting inflation to ease to 0.2% from December and slow to 2.9% annually

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