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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


The last time the 12 month–average inflation rate was below 5% was in April 2021, when it was 4.2%, according to U.S. Labor Department data. In March 2023, it sank to 5% for the first time since May 2021.

Consumer prices sharply declined at the start of the pandemic due to lower demand for goods and services. As consumer demand rebounded, the U.S. inflation rate hit a four-decade high 7.9% in February 2022. The Russian invasion of Ukraine further boosted the cost of food and fuel, prompting inflation to peak at 9.1% in June 2022. It has fallen every month since. The government’s target rate is 2%.

March’s lower inflation rate reflects several factors: Food prices remained about the same, energy prices fell, but housing prices continued to rise.

An economist writing in April for the World Economic Forum website said today’s inflation is a global phenomenon — not caused by any one country or leader — and warned of a “period of permanently higher inflation”

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


US Inflation Calculator Current US Inflation Rates: 2000-2023

World Economic Forum Inflation reaches lowest point in almost two years

World Economic Forum 4 reasons inflation will stay stubbornly high for some time

AP News US inflation soared 7.9% in past year, a fresh 40-year high

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Erin Gretzinger joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism and French major at UW-Madison and will graduate in spring 2023. Erin previously worked for the Wisconsin State Journal as a reporting intern and served as the 2021-22 editor-in-chief at The Badger Herald. She is a recipient of the Jon Wolman Scholarship, the Sigrid Schultz Scholarship and the Joseph Sicherman Award Fund for her academic and reporting work.