WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation eased last month as energy prices tumbled, according to a report closely watched by the Federal Reserve.
Consumer prices rose 6.3% in July from a year earlier after posting an annual increase of 6.8% in June, biggest jump since 1982, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Energy prices made the difference in July: They dropped last month after surging in June.
So-called core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 4.6% last month from a year earlier, Commerce said.
Inflation started rising sharply in the spring of 2021 as the economy rebounded with surprising speed from the short but devastating coronavirus recession a year earlier. Surging customer orders overwhelmed factories, ports and freightyards, leading to delays, shortages and higher prices.
The Fed was slow to respond to rising inflation, thinking it the temporary result of supply chain bottlenecks. But as prices continued to climb, the U.S. central bank moved aggressively, hiking its benchmark interest rate four times since March.