Speed Reads

inflation nation

Strong demand and likely the holidays pushed inflation to a 'nearly four-decade high' last month

Inflation surged 6.8 percent from a year ago in November, coming in slightly above estimates, CNBC reports, per the latest consumer price index released Friday. After removing volatile food and energy prices, the CPI (which measures what consumers pay for goods and services) rose 4.9 percent from a year ago — in line with expectations.

What's more, inflation accelerated at its fastest pace since 1982 last month — a "nearly four-decade high" — "putting pressure on the economic recovery and raising the stakes for the Federal Reserve," CNBC writes. Prices for vehicles, rent, furniture, and airlines fares jumped, while those for recreation and communication dropped, adds The Wall Street Journal.

"These are frighteningly high inflation numbers, the likes of which we haven't seen for decades," economist Allen Sinai told the Journal, while still noting the main driver of the inflation — a booming economy — is, of course, a good thing.

"We have tremendous spending by consumers," he added. "A lot of people are getting hired. Demand is huge. Monetary policy remains very easy and fiscal stimulus has no precedent in history."

That aforementioned increased demand for goods has driven much of the inflation surge, and the holiday season is probably only making things worse, economist Aneta Markowska explained to the Journal. 

But luckily, there are some economists who believe inflationary pressures to be at their peak, "particularly with energy prices declining in recent weeks," notes CNBC. The Federal Reserve will watch the numbers closely ahead of a two-day meeting next week.