Inflation comes in hotter than expected as prices spike 5.4 percent

Posted 4 days ago


Inflation continued to surge in September, with prices rising more than expected as companies grapple with a snarled supply chain and a nationwide labor shortage, the feds said Wednesday.

The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, which measures a basket of goods and services as well as energy and food costs, jumped 5.4 percent in September from a year earlier.

That’s up from August’s 5.3 percent year-over-year rise in prices and matches the 5.4 percent increases seen in June and July, the biggest 12-month rise since August 2008, just before the financial crisis sent the US into the worst recession it had seen since the Great Depression.

Consumer prices rose 0.4 percent from August, the Labor Department said.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected a 5.3 percent year-over-year spike in September and a monthly increase of 0.3 percent.

The core consumer price index, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose 4 percent from a year ago, matching the 4 percent year-over-year jump that the index saw in August.

That measure of inflation has eased since it spiked 4.5 percent in June, marking the fastest acceleration of prices it tracks since 1991.

Much of the increases this summer have been from sectors that were hit particularly hard by the pandemic and have since snapped back to high demand, such as used car prices, airfares and fuel costs.

“The indexes for airline fares, apparel, and used cars and trucks all declined over the month,” the feds said Wednesday in a press release, adding though that the prices for new vehicles, household furnishings and other goods rose for the month.

Gasoline prices, for example, climbed another 1.2 percent in September, from August. Costs at the pump are now up more than 42 percent compared with a year ago.

And the closely watched used car prices fell 0.7 percent for the month, but costs are still up more than 24 percent from a year ago.

Air fares saw a major drop in September, perhaps reflecting a drop in demand at the start of the month due to the late summer surge in COVID-19 cas... (Read more)