(The Center Square) Newly released federal inflation data show another record increase, the latest in a string of inflation numbers that have Americans concerned.
The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released pricing data Thursday showing the producer price index rose 0.2% in December, yet another month of increase after a year of aggressive price hikes.
“This rise followed advances of 1.0 percent in November and 0.6 percent in October,” BLS said. “On an unadjusted basis, final demand prices moved up 9.7 percent in 2021, the largest calendar-year increase since data were first calculated in 2010.”
The increase in prices affected a broad swath of industries.
“Over a quarter of the December increase in the index for final demand services can be attributed to margins for fuels and lubricants retailing, which rose 13.0 percent,” BLS said.
“The indexes for airline passenger services, food retailing, machinery and vehicle wholesaling, machinery and equipment parts and supplies wholesaling, and traveler accommodation services also moved higher. In contrast, margins for automobile and automobile parts retailing decreased 2.7 percent. The indexes for deposit services (partial) and for health, beauty, and optical goods retailing also declined.”
The data come just one day after BLS released a different inflation marker, the consumer price index. BLS released new inflation figures Wednesday showing consumer prices have risen at the fastest rate since 1982.
“The all items index rose 7.0 percent for the 12 months ending December, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982,” BLS said. “The all items less food and energy index rose 5.5 percent, the largest 12-month change since the period ending February 1991. The energy index rose 29.3 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 6.3 percent.”
As with the producer price index, consumer price data showed that Americans are feeling the pinch of higher prices across a range of goods and services.
President Joe Biden’s approval rating has declined even further amid higher inflation, vaccine mandates and the president’s push for new voting laws.
Quinnipiac released new polling showing that surveyed Americans give Biden a job approval rating of 33%, a figure that has steadily declined since he took office.
“Americans give President Joe Biden a negative 33–53 percent job approval rating, while 13 percent did not offer an opinion,” Quinnipiac said. “In November 2021, Americans gave Biden a negative 36–53 percent job approval rating with 10 percent not offering an opinion.”
The poll came a day after Biden chided Republicans Tuesday for refusing to support Democrats’ voting measures and on the heels of the defeat of Biden’s “Build Back Better” spending bill in Congress.
Rising inflation has plagued the Biden administration much of the past year. New federal data released Wednesday found inflation has risen at the fastest rate in nearly 40 years, with consumer prices increasing 7% in the previous 12 months.
On the economy, Quinnipiac found 34% of those surveyed approve of Biden’s work while 57% disapprove.
Voters have cited economic issues as their leading concern in other recent polling. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released new polling earlier this week that reported only 37% of Americans list COVID-19 as one of their top five concerns that government should work on, compared to 68% who named an economic concern.
The Quinnipiac poll found economic issues are not the only problems worrying voters, though. The group reports that 35% approve of Biden’s job on foreign policy, while 54% disapprove.
Biden saw higher approval ratings on his COVID-19 response last year, but now only 39% approve of his work on the pandemic, while 55% disapprove.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Friday in legal challenges to two of Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates, including one on private sector businesses. The Supreme Court could rule on the issue any day.
The U.S. Senate already has weighed in, voting to repeal the mandate with two Democrats joining all Republicans in the rebuke. And a recent poll showed a majority of Americans agreed with the Senate’s repeal vote.