Annual Inflation Hits 30-Year High

Consumer prices grew far faster than expected in October, according to data released Wednesday by the Labor Department.

The consumer price index (CPI), which tracks inflation for a range of staple goods and services, rose 0.9 percent last month and 6.2 percent in the 12-month period ending in October, the highest rate in the U.S. in 30 years.

Much of the year’s inflation had been driven in specific sectors hit hard by the pandemic and related shortages, such as automobiles, lumber, rented housing and energy. But price growth picked up broadly across the economy in October, and accelerated sharply for energy and food.

“The monthly all items seasonally adjusted increase was broad-based, with increases in the indexes for energy, shelter, food, used cars and trucks, and new vehicles among the larger contributors,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics explained.

Energy prices rose a staggering 4.8 percent in October, led by a 1.6 percent increase in gasoline prices, while food prices rose 0.9 percent. Most of the higher food inflation came from sharp increases for meat prices, while shelf-stable goods saw lower price growth.