Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers jumped 0.8 percent in February after an increase of 0.6 percent in January. The U.S. inflation rate over the last 12 months stands at 7.9 percent, up from 7.5 percent reported in January.
Increases in the indexes for gasoline, shelter and food were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all-items increase, with gasoline up 6.6 percent, the food index up 1 percent and the home index up 1.4 percent. The 12-month increase has been steadily rising and is now the largest since the period ending January 1982.
Contributing to the supply chain headaches are lingering issues at ports across the country and the world. The National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates released the monthly Global Port Tracker report, which found the nation’s major retailer container ports are expected to be at near-record levels this spring and summer. Port numbers will stay elevated due to consumer demand and ongoing supply chain challenges.
“Consumers are still spending and the supply chain is still working to keep up,” says Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy. “Growth rates have slowed down from the off-the-charts numbers we saw last year, but volume is close to the highest we’ve ever seen. Everyone in the supply chain is trying to reduce congestion, but there is still work to be done. Retailers are also planning for potential additional disruptions this summer from West Coast port labor contract negotiations.”
U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker handled 2.16 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, one 20-foot container or its equivalent, in January, the latest month for which final numbers are available. That number was up 3.6 percent from December and up 5.2 percent year-over-year.