Inflation rises to highest level in 40 years in metric used by Fed

Inflation rose to the highest level in four decades in January in the gauge preferred by the Federal Reserve, increasing pressure on the central bank to move quickly to curb price gains.

Prices rose 6.1% in the year ending in January, according to the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index updated Friday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Inflation is up three-tenths of a percentage point from the month before and at a rate not seen since the end of the era of the Great Inflation in early 1982.

The Fed's target for inflation, in comparison, is 2%, as measured by the same index. The major overshoot of inflation has forced Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to scramble to tighten monetary policy and led to accusations that the central bank is behind the curve. High prices have also led voters to sour on President Joe Biden's stewardship of the economy and hurt support for his proposals for new federal spending.