June inflation soared 9.1% amid high gas prices

Prices soared by 9.1 percent in June compared with a year ago, a new peak with inflation remaining at 40-year highs, driven in large part by higher energy prices.

The inflation report, released Wednesday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed June prices rose 1.3 percent compared with the month before, 

which is also considered high, reflecting how Americans continue to stretch budgets to keep roofs over their heads, fill gas tanks and buy groceries.

Inflation is showing few signs of letting up, compounding the pressure on the Federal Reserve and White House to ratchet up their response — and convince the American public that they can significantly slow the economy without causing a recession. Financial markets were set to open lower sharply on Wednesday’s news.

Driving the stunning jump was the energy index, which rose 7.5 percent compared with May, and contributed nearly half of the overall increase in inflation.

The energy index includes prices for fuel, oil, gasoline and electricity, and it’s up 41.6 percent for the year, the largest 12-month increase since April 1980.

Gasoline was up 11.2 percent in June, underscoring the economic toll Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had on global energy markets. There’s hope that upcoming inflation data will ease down a bit, since energy and gas prices have fallen consistently in the past month. The national average for a gallon of gas ticked down to $4.63 on Wednesday, according to AAA.

Few aspects of daily life have been left untouched by inflation’s continued rise. The food index rose 1 percent in June and is up 10.4 percent compared with the previous year, the largest 12-month increase since February 1981. The price of chicken has ballooned 19 percent in the past year, the biggest increase ever.

Rent also rose 0.8 percent in June, compared with the month before, as the cost of simply keeping a roof overhead is becoming more and more out of reach for families nationwide.

“It’s important that policymakers address the public,” said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM. “At this point, we’re talking about food, gasoline and housing. That does not make for a happy household.”

Even “core inflation,” a measure closely studied by economists because it strips out volatile categories like food and energy, was on the rise in June.