By Jeff Cox – CNBC

Inflation rose again in April, continuing a climb that has pushed consumers to the brink and is threatening the economic expansion, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.

The consumer price index, a broad-based measure of prices for goods and services, increased 8.3% from a year ago, higher than the Dow Jones estimate for an 8.1% gain.

Removing volatile food and energy prices, so-called core CPI still rose 6.2%, against expectations for a 6% gain.

Inflation has been the single biggest threat to a recovery that began early in the pandemic and saw the economy in 2021 stage its biggest single-year growth level since 1984. Rising prices at the pump and in grocery stores have been one problem, but inflation has spread beyond those two areas into housing, auto sales and a host of other areas.

Federal Reserve officials have responded to the problem with two interest rate hikes so far this year and pledges of more until inflation comes down to the central bank’s 2% goal. However, Wednesday’s data shows that the Fed has a big job ahead.

The month-over-month gains also were higher than expectations — 0.3% on headline CPI vs. the 0.2% estimate and a 0.6% increase for core, against the outlook for a 0.4% gain.

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