Consumer prices increased 7.9% in February compared with a year earlier, according to the federal government’s latest estimate, the fastest inflation surge since the early 1980s.
But not everybody is feeling the squeeze of higher prices in the same way. While consumer sentiment has cratered, corporate profits have soared as businesses reap the rewards of their customers’ continued willingness to pay more.
The top 30 companies in the major industry categories of the consumer price index have raised prices while collectively boosting their profits by $151 billion, according to the liberal watchdog group Accountable.US, which compared the firms’ latest yearly and quarterly earnings reports with the previous year’s filings.
The companies also bought back an additional $28 billion of their own shares, a strategy to boost the stock price, which also happens to boost executive compensation.