Inflation is rocking American consumers at levels not experienced in more than 40 years.
From the cost of buying and renting homes, weekly groceries, filling up the gas tank, booking travel and more, rising prices have hit U.S. spenders for much of this year. The skyrocketing cost of living has prompted state legislators to suspend gas taxes and encouraged a flurry of moves from the White House and Federal Reserve in an effort to keep prices from spiraling out of control.
NBC News is tracking inflation levels across a variety of consumer metrics. The chart below, which shows how prices each month compare to the same time one year earlier, will be updated monthly.
For more than a year, broad swaths of the economy have been dealing with supply chain disruptions that have affected the availability of everything from wine and video game consoles to cars and eggs. For cars and consumer electronics, even if manufacturers wanted to build more items, they haven’t had enough computer chips or raw materials to do so for more than a year. This has led to sharp rises in prices for new and used cars — if there are any left in the lot — and to scalpers snatching up the latest video game consoles to resell at inflated prices.
Many industries, including oil refineries, car factories and airlines, cut staff and production in 2020 at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving them understaffed when demand for travel roared back.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent oil embargoes from the United States and European Union have also served to further strain the global energy supply, isolating one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers and driving prices higher as nations scramble for replacements.
And rising natural gas prices have led to spikes in the cost of electricity, sending energy bills soaring in some cities.
The federal government has taken steps to combat rising prices. President Joe Biden has authorized several withdrawals from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and more than 20 states, including New York, Connecticut and Georgia, either paused their local gas taxes or introduced legislation to do so.
The Federal Reserve has also raised interest rates three times this year, including the biggest rate hike since 1994 on Wednesday, to try and cool demand by making it more expensive for consumers and businesses to borrow money.