(CNN) — Inflation surged to a new pandemic-era peak in June, with US consumer prices jumping by 9.1% year-over-year, according to fresh data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That’s the highest level in more than 40 years and higher than the previous reading, when prices rose by 8.6% for the year ended in May. It is also much higher than the 8.8% that economists had predicted, according to Refinitiv.
The Consumer Price Index for June also showed that overall prices that consumers pay for a variety of goods and services rose by 1.3% from May to June.
Much of the June increase was driven by a jump in gasoline prices, which were up nearly 60% over the year. Americans faced record-high gas prices last month, with the national average topping $5 a gallon across the country. Electricity and natural gas prices also rose, by 13.7% and 38.4%, respectively, for the 12-month period ended in June. Overall, energy prices rose by 41.6% year over year.
The increases, however, were felt across all categories. Prices for food at home were up 12.2% over the year, with cereals up 12.2%, dairy up 13.5%, and meats up 13.8%.
The White House said earlier this week it was expecting “highly elevated” inflation data, citing the continued impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Stripping out food and energy costs, which tend to represent transitory fluctuations, core CPI prices rose by 0.7% over the same period and by 5.9% for the 12-month period ended in June.
The Federal Reserve pays particular attention to that core data when assessing future inflationary trends, and the latest numbers likely give the central bank a green light to continue with its aggressive series of rate hikes to cool off the economy and bring down higher prices. The Fed is widely expected to raise its benchmark interest rate by at least 75 basis points at its next monetary policymaking meeting on July 26-27.
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