CUNA Senior Economist Dawit Kebede issued the following statement in response to the Labor Department’s February Consumer Index Report:
“Consumer prices in February rose to their highest monthly increase since October 2021, setting another 40-year record. Price increases in energy, food, and services contributed the most gains. This may continue in the coming months considering the impact of the war in Ukraine on global energy and food prices. Prices for services such as travel and recreation increased this month, and, as COVID cases continue to decline, it will add additional pressure.
“Additionally, businesses are expected to pass the rising costs of finding workers to consumers. This shows that the list of underlying causes for price increases have expanded beyond supply chain disruptions and a shift in consumer demand from services to goods during COVID.
“An interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve will slow down consumer demand by making the cost of borrowing more expensive. However, there is little that the Fed can do to control prices caused by a global conflict, just like there is little it can do to improve supply chain disruptions.”