(Trends Wide) — There is no end in sight for high prices in the United States. Consumer price inflation in the United States rose again in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.
During the past 12 months, prices rose 6.2%, representing the largest increase since November 1990.
If food and energy prices, which tend to be more volatile, are excluded, the price index rose 4.6% over the same period, the biggest jump since August 1991.
The headline price index rose 0.9% in October alone, adjusted for seasonal variations, significantly more than the 0.6% economists had forecast and overshadowing the somewhat warmer 0.4% rise in September.
Last month’s price increases were due to increases in multiple categories, including energy, shelter, food and automobiles. Food prices have risen almost 1% for two months in a row.
Energy costs have skyrocketed, rising 4.8% in October and 30% in the last 12 months.
Pandemic price increases
Rising inflation has been a hallmark of the recovery from the pandemic thanks to a powerful combination of unbridled demand, raw material shortages and bottlenecks along global supply chains. And the jump in energy costs is only making it worse.
The Biden administration and the Federal Reserve have been adamant that price increases are temporary and expected as the economy recovers from its worst crisis in a generation.
Last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Trends Wide that although inflation is high, it is not as bad as the peak inflation of the 1970s, when the United States was in a state of stagflation, defined by the rising prices and slow growth.
What is the Fed going to do?
The Federal Reserve is beginning to curb its pandemic-era stimulus, starting with slowing the monthly pace of asset purchases. That could ease the economy a bit. After all, keeping prices stable is one of the main tasks of the central bank.
But the October report raises the question of whether the Fed is acting fast enough or whether it has to reverse the stimulus even faster.
Although a month is not trending and October’s price jumps could be short-lived, the reverse could also be true.
American consumers are already preparing for higher prices during their holiday shopping.