Stagflation: It’s always sounded like a dirty word, and is hopelessly tied to retro jokes about the ‘70s. But with GDP growth already, well, stagnant, the Labor Department announced Thursday that July saw the highest rate of inflation in 17 years, meaning you can now appropriately drop the word into water cooler convo without seeming like a potty-mouth or a retro hipster. On the downside, you are now paying 5.6 percent more for things than you did at this time last year.
From the New York Times:
Consumer prices were 5.6 percent higher last month than they were in July 2007, a brisker pace than economists had expected, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
That was the sharpest annual increase since January 1991, as Americans paid more for clothing, food, transportation and recreational products.
The news was distressing for investors and the stock markets initially fell on the report. The major exchanges recovered, however, and the Dow Jones industrials up more than 80 points in early afternoon trading. Investors returned to buying financial stocks, taking advantage of a sector that has fared poorly in recent sessions. The broader S.&P. 500-stock index was up 0.46 percent. Wal-Mart also reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profits, but the discount retail giant also issued a gloomy sales forecast for the rest of the year. In addition, crude oil prices continued to fall, dropping below $113 a barrel.
The overall Consumer Price Index, considered the benchmark gauge of domestic inflation, rose 0.8 percent in July. Economists had forecast a rise of half that rate. In June, prices rose 1.1 percent, the second highest monthly pace in 26 years.