The numbers: The rate of U.S. inflation leaped to 40-year high of 8.5% in March and showed little sign of easing up, explaining the new-found urgency at the Federal Reserve to quickly undo its easy-money strategy.
The consumer price index jumped 1.2% last month, driven by the higher cost of gasoline, food and housing, the government said Tuesday. It was the largest monthly gain since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The rise in the cost of living has been hitting new highs for months. The rate of inflation in the past year moved up to 8.5% in March from 7.9%. The last time inflation topped 8% was in January 1982, when Ronald Reagan was president.