Inflation in the United States eased slightly in September, but it remained near its highest level in four decades, despite strong monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve.

According to a Deutsche Bank analysis of 111 nations’ inflation rates, the United States is at the centre of the pack. The median rate of year-over-year inflation across these nations has more than doubled from 3.0% last year, owing mostly to rising energy and food prices.

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Inflation represents an economy’s pace and causes it to drive forward at full speed, often uncontrolled, resulting in price increases and a greater cost of living for the average consumer.

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Inflation affects household budgets and long-term inflation means that costs will rise and that over time, a certain amount of funds will buy you significantly less. Wages tend to rise organically during inflation to compensate for this, because inflation is a result of increased demand, implying economic expansion, but individuals on fixed incomes, such as pensioners, are out of luck in this instance. When inflation becomes uncontrollable, everyone feels poorer.

Let’s take a look at the rate of inflation in the United States from 1930 to 2022:


Prices climbed the most between 1933 and 1941, despite output being far below forecast. The impact of devaluation and altered expectations alone cannot account for this inflation. Rather, because prewar price fluctuations were heavily influenced by the rate of expansion of real output, the extremely rapid growth after 1933 was a major contributor to inflation. Simultaneously, the NIRA reduced the normal deviation-from-trend impact by supporting minimum wages and collusive pricing structures. The convergence of these dynamics resulted in inflation at a period when the US economy remained weak.

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The possibility of inflation loomed much bigger during WWII, as the government deficit soared from around 3% of GDP in 1939 to about 27% of GDP in 1943. To combat inflation, the federal government began abolishing free-market pricing on products in limited supply in the early 1940s.

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Inflation spiked sharply in the economy before to the Korean War. The 1950s experienced good GDP growth, low inflation, and low unemployment even after the war and recession.

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Inflation was somewhat more than 1% per year throughout the 1960s. Over the six years prior, it had resided in this area. Inflation began to rise in the mid-1960s, eventually reaching more than 5% in 1970.

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Inflation in the United States reached some of its highest levels in the 1970s. As a result, interest rates surged to almost 20%. High inflation was caused by Fed policies, the removal of the gold window, Keynesian economic policy, and market psychology. The American central bank’s easy money measures were intended to achieve full employment by the early 1970s. However, they also led to significant inflation.

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The world was in a severe recession when the 1980s started, and there was a lot of inflation and unemployment in the United States. In January 1980, the inflation rate was 13.91%, while the unemployment rate was 6.3%. In April 1980, inflation reached 14.76% before falling to 6.51%.   By December 1989, unemployment had fallen to 5.4% and inflation had sharply lowered to 4.65%.

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A mild recession began in 1990 after the Federal Reserve had been gradually hiking interest rates for more than two years to keep inflation under control. These actions delayed the economy, which subsequently suffered when Iraq invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990 (followed by US involvement and the Gulf War), causing global oil prices to more than double. With a 1.1% decline in GDP and an approximate 7% unemployment rate, the recession only lasted eight months.

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The bursting of the dot-com bubble led to one of the mildest recessions on record, following what was then the lengthiest economic boom in US history.   In early 1999, the Fed hiked the fed funds rate from 4.75% to 6.5% by July 2000. The September 11 attacks and the resulting economic disruptions may have expedited the conclusion of the recession by persuading the Fed to continue decreasing the fed funds rate. Midway through 2003, the benchmark rate fell to 1%. Between 2007 and 2009, a nationwide decline in U.S. housing prices prompted a global financial crisis, a stock market bear market that saw the S&P 500 fall 57% at its lows, and the worst economic slump since the 1937-38 recession. Global investment into the United States had maintained market rates low, perhaps promoting shady mortgage underwriting and mortgage-backed securities marketing tactics. By mid-2008, oil prices had reached all-time highs before plummeting, devastating the US oil sector. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the United States in March 2020, and the following travel and work restrictions led employment to collapse, resulting in an exceptionally brief but intense recession. The unemployment rate rose from 3.5% in February 2020 to 14.7% in April 2020 before falling to 4% by the end of 2021, limited by $5 trillion in pandemic relief expenditures. The stock market dropped 34% yet recovered its high in 33 days, an unusually quick reversal.

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The US CPI inflation dropped to 8.2% in September 2022 on a yearly basis from 8.3% in the previous month. The figure was higher than expected. Many of the factors driving inflation last year, such as supply interruptions from Covid and increased food costs as a result of severe storms and drought, were not unique to the United States. The cause for soaring inflation was increased demand, which was fueled by the unprecedented $5 trillion (£4.1 trillion) in expenditure authorised by the US government to safeguard households and businesses from the economic catastrophe of the pandemic.