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Consumer prices are still rising rapidly.

Central bankers hope their policies will dampen economic growth without actually raising unemployment or plunge America into recession — what they often refer to as a “soft landing.”

“I really want this to be the outcome, but I recognize it won’t be easy to do,” Raphael Bostic, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said in an interview Monday.

Officials have frankly acknowledged that it will be difficult to gently lower the economy, and some have suggested they would be willing to inflict economic pain if that’s what it takes to deal with high inflation.

If the economy reaches a point where unemployment starts to rise but inflation remains “unacceptably high,” Mr. Bostic that price hikes “would be the threat we need to take on board”.

A challenge for policymakers – and even more so for families – is that price increases essentially surface. Food costs rose 0.9 percent in April from the previous month, the 17th consecutive monthly increase, Friday’s report showed.

The increase was driven by dairy products, non-alcoholic beverages and a 10.3 percent monthly increase in the cost of eggs as bird flu decimated poultry flocks. Such inflation mainly affects the poor, who spend a larger proportion of their budgets on groceries and petrol.

But as Americans see strong job growth and strong wage growth — though not strong enough to fully curb inflation — many are managing to absorb rising costs for now, keeping overall demand strong.

“Consumers seem willing to accept higher menu prices, especially as inflation is broad,” George Holm, chief executive officer at food distributor and restaurant supplier Performance Food Group, said during an earnings call on Wednesday. “Still, this is something to watch closely over the coming months and quarters.”

Ana Swanson contributed to the reporting.

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