Wholesale Inflation Surges in September as High Prices Persist

The Labor Department said Wednesday that its Producer Price Index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level before it reaches consumers, climbed 0.5% in September from the previous month. On an annual basis, prices are up 2.2%, the largest increase since April.

In another sign that suggests high inflation has been slow to dissipate, core prices – which exclude the more volatile measurements of food and energy – rose 0.3% for the month. That is higher than both the 0.2% estimate and the reading recorded last month.

The figure was up 2.2% on a 12-month basis.

The data comes one day before the Labor Department releases its more closely watched consumer price index, which measures the prices paid directly by consumers. The gauge is expected to show that inflation cooled ever so slightly last month as high prices continue to squeeze consumers.

Both releases are considered to be important measurements of inflation, with the PPI believed to be a leading indicator of inflationary pressures as costs work their way down to consumers. The different gauges point to inflation that is still running above the Federal Reserve’s preferred 2% target.