(NBC) — Inflation is down slightly over the last month and rising more slowly than a year ago. The markets liked what they saw, all of them closing higher.
Soaring inflation is in retreat, December marked the first monthly decline in prices in nearly three years, down by a tenth of a percent from November.
Signs of relief hailed by President Biden.
“It’s coming down in America month after month, giving families some real breathing room,” Biden said.
Compared to a year ago, the rate of inflation is now 6.5%. The vast improvement from last summer’s peak, driven by falling gas (-1.5%) and used car prices.
“Going from 9% to 6.5%, really is a big deal. And that’s good for the economy,” said Dana Peterson, The Conference Board Chief Economist. “Keep in mind that prices are still elevated.”
And burdensome for budgets.
For the same items, the typical household shelled out $371 more per month than in 2021. Key categories, like rent (+8.3%) and groceries (+11.8%), continue to hit families where it hurts.
Eggs soared a staggering 60%, pressured in part by a record outbreak of the avian flu.
“No, it’s gotten worse if anything,” Beverlee Green said when asked if they felt any improvement. Green visited three grocery stores that day in search of more reasonable prices.
“It shouldn’t be such a struggle to pull together a meal,” Green said.
A struggle that grocery store owner Bart Yablonsky witnessed in Maryland. However, he said prices are beginning to level off.
“We want customers to be able to come back in and shop regularly and not be so concerned about every single penny that they’re spending,” Yablonsky said.
Today’s numbers are sure to factor into the federal reserve meeting next month, where many economists expect the Fed to keep raising interest rates to keep inflation in check but less aggressively than it did last year.