Inflation continued to surge last month — with prices rising more than expected and at the fastest pace in more than 30 years as companies grapple with a snarled supply chain and a nationwide labor shortage, the feds announced Wednesday.
The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, which measures a basket of goods and services as well as energy and food costs, jumped 6.2 percent in October from a year earlier.
That’s up from September’s 5.4 percent year-over-year rise in prices and is the biggest 12-month rise since 1990.
It’s also the fifth straight month in which inflation surged more than 5 percent, year over year, under President Joe Biden.
Consumer prices rose 0.9 percent from September, the Labor Department added.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected a 5.9 percent year-over-year spike in October and a monthly increase of 0.6 percent.
The core consumer price index, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose 4.6 percent from a year ago, the fastest acceleration of the prices it tracks since August 1991.
Much of the price increases this summer and fall have been from sectors that were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, like airlines, car rentals and hotels, that have since seen demand come roaring back.
However, price increases have trickled into other areas of the economy, including housing and food, which is hitting the middle and working class hard.
Though officials at the Federal Reserve have largely stuck to their view that price increases won’t be persistently rising for long as the economy works through pandemic-related supply chain kinks that are holding back supply.
In a separate report also released Wednesday, the feds announced that the number of Americans newly seeking jobless benefits dropped again last week, inching closer to pre-pandemic levels amid the historically tight labor market.
As of last week, initial filings for unemployment benefits, seen as a proxy for layoffs, fell to 267,000, down 4,000 from the prior week’s revised level of 271,000, according to data released Wednesday by the Labor Department.
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