Wholesale Inflation Rises in September

Inflation at the wholesale level rose more than expected in September as prices for everyday necessities remain at a multi-decade high, squeezing businesses and millions of American households. The Labor Department said Wednesday that its producer price index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level before it reaches consumers, rose 0.4% in September from the previous month.

Overall, prices for goods jumped 0.4% last month after declining 1.1% in August. The bulk of the increase – about 60% – can be traced to a 1.2% monthly surge in prices for food, including a stunning 15.7% advance in the cost of fresh and dry vegetables, according to the Labor Department.

Energy prices, meanwhile, climbed 0.7%, despite a 2% drop in the cost of gasoline. That is largely due to the increase in the cost of diesel fuel, residential natural gas and home heating oil.

Meanwhile, the services index advanced 0.4% in September, the fifth consecutive rise. Most of the September increase can be attributed to a 0.6% rise in the index for final demand services excluding trade, transportation and warehousing. Prices for final demand transportation and warehousing services actually fell 0.2%.