Stagflation, energy crises, and ‘malaise’: The last time inflation was this high

The last time prices were increasing this quickly was in 1981 when Ronald Reagan was president, interest rates were near record highs, and the United States was embroiled in the Cold War.

The country has changed significantly since the Great Inflation of the 1970s and 1980s, and today’s inflationary bout is much different — but there are some similarities between now and 1981, the last time inflation hit 8.5%.


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The inflation more than four decades ago was much more severe than it is now. Inflation peaked in the spring of 1980 at a jaw-dropping 14.8% and subsequently began declining.


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