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Labor Dept follows inflation report with record jump in wholesale prices

Labor Dept follows inflation report with record jump in wholesale prices


Labor Dept follows inflation report with record jump in wholesale prices

WASHINGTON — Inflation at the wholesale level rose 8.6% in September compared to a year ago, the largest advance since the 12-month change was first calculated in 2010.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the monthly increase in its producer price index, which measures inflationary pressures before they reach consumers, was 0.5% for September compared to a 0.7% gain in August.

The 8.6% rise for the 12 months ending in September compared to an 8.3% increase for the 12 months ending in August, which had been the previous record 12-month gain.

The jump in inflation this year reflects higher prices for food and energy and a number of other items from furniture to autos. Some analysts blame a supply chain problem as employers face a shortage of people who want to work because they are getting paid more by the government to stay at home.

A day before that announcement, the Labor Department reported consumer prices jumped in September sending dollar-robbing inflation up 5.4% over a year go. That matches the largest increase since 2008.

Higher prices are outstripping pay gains many workers are able to obtain from businesses, which are having to pay more to attract employees. Average hourly wages rose 4.6% in September from a year earlier, not enough to keep up with inflation.

The jump in inflation, described by the Labor Department as an unexpected surprise, reflects sharply higher prices for food and energy, but also for furniture, cars, televisions, and other largely imported goods.

Prices for household furniture, which has faced major shipping delays, jumped 2.4% in September alone, the biggest increase since 1988. Over the past 12 months, furniture costs have soared 11.2%, the most since 1951. 

The cost of shoes rose 0.5% in September and have jumped 6.5% in the past year. Children's shoes are up 11.9%, a record-high gain in data that stretches back to the 1950s.

Gas prices jumped 1.2% last month and have soared more than 42% compared with a year ago.

The report on wholesale prices showed that core inflation at the wholesale level, excluding volatile energy and food, was up 0.2% in September from August and was 6.8% higher over the past 12 months.

Almost 80% of the overall increase in wholesale prices last month was attributed to a 1.3% rise in the price of goods, the largest increase since May. In September, 40% of the jump in goods prices reflected rising energy prices. Price increases for services rose a smaller 0.2%

Food costs at the wholesale level rose 2% in September while energy prices were up 2.8%, the biggest jump since a 5% surge in March.