Consumer prices jump by most in nearly 12 years

A big jump in consumer prices fueled inflation fears on Wednesday.

Consumer prices in the U.S. shot up 0.8% in April. That was the biggest increase in nearly 12 years and far more than economists had expected.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that in the last year - the consumer price index surged 4.2%.

Prices rose on a wide range of items from food to used cars to housing, home furnishings, air fares and recreation.

Driving consumer demand: nearly $6 trillion in government relief and the fast pace of vaccinations.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and many other economists believe the higher prices are temporary. But there’s concern inflation could be sticky amid reports that companies are boosting wages in the scramble to hire scarce workers.

The latest data stoked investor fears of higher interest rates, sending stocks on Wall Street south in early trading Wednesday.

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