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Inflation is now costing average US household an extra $296 each month

Red-hot inflation is costing the average US household an additional $296.45 in expenses as surging food and fuel costs stretch budgets, according to calculations provided to The Post. Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, crunched the numbers after the latest Labor Department data showed consumer prices jumped 7.9% in February. He arrived at the figure by comparing average US household spending last month to what would have been spent in 2018 and 2019, when inflation paced at 2.1%. “Unfortunately, things will get worse before they get better. Higher energy prices in March are going to boost the [Consumer Price Index],” Sweet told The Post. Consumer prices have continued to rise even as the Biden administration has largely blamed the problem on supply chain disruptions and corporate greed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some economists have argued out-of-control government spending has pushed inflation higher. And the Russia-Ukraine war is expected to cause gas prices – already at a record level – to climb even higher in the weeks ahead. Energy prices jumped a staggering 25% in February compared to the same month one year earlier. The food index jumped 7.9% — with meal staples such as beef and chicken experiencing some of the sharpest increases. The latest bite out of the family budget was up from $276 in inflationary expenses just one month earlier. The February surge marked the highest annual rate of increase in consumer prices since 1982. President Biden has warned Americans will face “costs” after he banned imports of Russian oil and gas as part of an economic crackdown in response to the invasion of Ukraine. On a monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index — a closely tracked inflation gauge that details the costs of goods and services — rose 0.8% from January to February. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the CPI jumped 6.4% — also a four-decade high. The latest inflation data is expected to weigh heavily on the Federal Reserve’s plan to hike interest rates. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has indicated he will propose a quarter-percentage-point hike when central bank officials meet later this month.

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