Media, economic experts react to April inflation numbers: ‘Not a lot of comfort’

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Media personalities, economic experts and more reacted to the 8.3% year-over-year April inflation report on Wednesday. 

Inflation cooled slightly for the first time in several months in April, but still remained high as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) came in at 8.3%. In March, inflation hit 8.5%, which was another 40-year-high. Core prices, which exclude energy and food, were up 6.2% in April. Prices jumped 0.3% between March and April. Food prices increased by 1% and shelter, which makes up about one-third of the CPI, also rose by 0.5% last month. 

View of the prices of gas at the Shell gas station on Friday, March 25, 2022, in New York.
(AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

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Both the monthly gain and the CPI number were higher than economists predicted. Media personalities and more were quick to emphasize on Twitter that inflation was still ravaging Americans. 

Heather Long, a Washington Post economic columnist and editorial board member, said inflation was “going to remain painfully high for awhile.” 

“Food costs, new vehicle costs, shelter and medical expenses keep rising,” she continued. 

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Steve Hanke, an economist and professor at Johns Hopkins, said that inflation was a result of “excessive money supply” since the start of the pandemic in 2020. “Thanks to the Fed’s monetary mistakes and Biden’s blunders, elevated inflation will be with us trough [sic] 2023,” he tweeted. 

Asked about inflation, President Biden said Tuesday that his policies “help, not hurt.” He released a statement Wednesday, saying that the slight decrease was “heartening.” However, Biden said the reality was that prices were still very high. 

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 10: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about inflation and the economy in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus May 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. Biden stated that tackling the rising prices is his top domestic priority and accused Republicans of not having a plan to fight inflation. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Jason Furman, former President Barack Obama’s Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, emphasized the core inflation rise. “Yes, the 12-month change in inflation peaked. But core inflation at 7.0% annual rate in April was faster than the 6.5% annual rate in the previous twelve months. Not a lot of comfort in that number,” he wrote. 

CNN’s National Security correspondent Jim Sciutto suggested the decrease in the year-over-year inflation from the 8.5% surge in March meant that things were easing up. 

“US inflation took a breather last month for first time since August. Prices still increased, but at a slower pace than in previous months,” Sciutto said. “Several factors are expected to keep prices elevated over the summer. Ukraine war has put pressure on energy & food prices. Renewed Covid-related lockdowns in China may exacerbate supply chain issues. Economists are uncertain how much pace of inflation can slow down further.”

Jim Geraghty, the senior political correspondent for the National Review, responded to Sciutto’s tweet and said, “Can you look at these numbers and really characterize it as ‘inflation took a breather’?”

A woman shops for groceries at a Whole Foods supermarket in New York May 18, 2010. U.S. consumer prices fell for the first time in a year last month and the closely watched core inflation rate posted its smallest annual gain since 1966, pointing to a lack of price pressure as the economic recovery gathers steam. Picture taken May 18, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton 

Dominc Chu, CNBC’s senior markets correspondent, appeared on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” and noted Americans “are going to still be dealing with uncomfortably high inflation for some time.” He also added that many were concerned about the core inflation increases. 

“The problem is, stripping out those prices, everything else is still going up by a higher amount than economists were predicting. One of the big drivers today was the cost of housing. That’s disturbing,” he said. 

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John King, during Wednesday’s “Inside Politics with John King,” said that “there was no escaping this,” and noted the many products and aspects of life in which Americans are seeing drastic price increases. “Every second of every day, American consumers are seeing this, which is the president’s challenge.”

Christine Romans, chief business correspondent for CNN, suggested earlier in the segment that the April numbers meant things were “leveling off.”

“They appear to be moderating, leveling off, peaking as one economist said today. It’s not getting hotter but there’s still a fire. And at this point, that is what we take for good news on the inflation front,” Romans said. 

CNBC’s Rick Santelli gave a rundown of the report on Wednesday as well, noting the decrease from March. “It is a small reprieve but a reprieve nonetheless,” Santelli said. 

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