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Inflation Hits 7.9% Overall, 8.6% for Groceries—a 40-Year High

February's year-over-year spike in grocery prices was the largest 12-month increase in more than 40 years.
Costco gas pumps
Photograph: Shutterstock

Inflation met analysts' high expectations for February, hitting 7.9% for all goods and services, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest monthly consumer prices report. Prices for food at home surged even past that mark, jumping 8.6% year over year—a 40-year record.

February's spike in grocery prices also exceeded January's 7.4% year-over-year jump and was the biggest 12-month increase since April 1981, according to the BLS. On a month-over-month basis, grocery prices in February were up 1.4% vs. January 2022, beating the 1% increase seen in January vs. December.

All six major grocery categories saw prices rise in February, according to the BLS. Two categories, produce and dairy, saw their largest month-to-month price surges in more than 10 years. "The index for fruits and vegetables had the largest increase, rising 2.3%, its largest monthly increase since March 2010," the BLS reported. "The index for dairy and related products rose 1.9%, its largest monthly increase since April 2011." 

Among the grocery items seeing above-average price hikes over the past 12 months:

  • Flour and prepared flour mixes, 11.6%
  • Beef, 16.2%
  • Bacon, 18.8%
  • Chicken, 13.2%
  • Milk, 11.2%
  • Fresh fruit, 10.6%
  • Roasted coffee, 10.9%
     

The government's latest inflation report comes as consumer sentiment is sitting at a 10-year low, according to the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment. Data from market researcher IRI also found that inflation was grocery shoppers' top concern in January.

Elsewhere in the BLS' Consumer Price Index for February: Prices at restaurants were up sharply year over year in February, too, although not by as much as prices at the grocery store. Limited-service (fast food and fast casual) restaurant prices were up 8% year over, and prices at full-service restaurants rose 7.5%. 

Gasoline prices rose 38% year over year and were up 6.6% from January. Russia's invasion of Ukraine began Feb. 24.

 

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