The University of Michigan’s sentiment index dropped to 61.7, the lowest since October 2011, from 67.2 in January, data released Friday showed. The figure trailed the median estimate of 67 in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The report’s gauge of current conditions declined to 68.5, the weakest since 2011. A measure of future expectations decreased to 57.4, also the lowest in more than a decade.

Consumers expect an inflation rate of 5% over the next year, up from last month’s reading of 4.9% and the highest since 2008. They expect prices will rise at an annual rate of 3.1% over the next five to 10 years, unchanged from a month earlier.

  • Inflation went up again in January despite Biden saying it was temporary
  • The Labor Department said year-on-year price rises were at 7.5 percent
  • On Thursday, NBC News anchor Lester Holt asked Biden to define ‘temporary’
  • ‘Well, you’re being a wise guy with me a little bit,’ said Biden as he smiled
  • But the figures – the highest inflation since 1982 – are worrying Democrats
  • Biden said Americans could expect prices to ‘taper off’ later this year

Shoplifting has gotten so bad nationally that chains like Rite Aid are closing hard-hit stores, sending terrified employees home in Ubers and locking up aisles of seemingly mundane items like deodorant and toothpaste.

Why it matters: Retailers are already reeling from the pandemic, supply chain woes and the labor shortage. Now they’re combating systematic looting by organized crime gangs — which are growing more aggressive and violent.

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  • “It’s out of control — it is just out of control,” Lisa LaBruno, SVP of operations and innovation at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, tells Axios.
  • A lot of the uptick is tied to the ease of reselling stolen goods online, plus the fact that consumers are buying more everyday goods online during COVID.
  • “We have experienced a 300% increase in retail theft from our stores since the pandemic began.” CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis tells Axios.

Oil prices jumped in afternoon trading Friday amid escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

With about 2 hours left to the trading day, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said at a White House briefing that there were signs of Russian escalation at the Ukraine border and that it was possible that an invasion could take place during the Olympics, despite speculation to the contrary.

“We continue to see signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border. As we’ve said before, we are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time,” Sullivan said Friday.



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