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Consumer prices rose 7% in the 12 months to December, according to data released by the Labor Department on Wednesday. They rose only slightly after a massive increase in the last few months, but still marked their highest value in almost 40 years. (Here you can see what is getting cheaper – and what is more expensive.)

Important facts

Total prices have increased by 0.5% since November – higher than the 0.4% expected by economists, but lower than the previous month’s 0.8%.

Despite the monthly decline, prices rose another 7% on an annual basis last month, the largest annual increase since June 1982.

The overall surge was the result of broader gains in most consumer goods and services, the government said, pointing to rising prices for housing, groceries and used cars as some of the biggest contributors.

The decade-long high inflation rate comes a day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before Congress that the central bank would cut stimulus measures to keep inflation from rising and said, “If we do If you need to raise interest rates, we will. ”

The core price index, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, rose 0.6% last month from 0.5% in November.

One promising sign, however, is that recently hot gasoline prices cooled off in the last month, and total energy prices fell about 0.4% in December, after rising as much as 4.8% in the past six months.