Inflation accelerated at the fastest monthly and annual pace, hitting a three-decade high in October — a key indicator that prices are rising more than expected as companies continue to struggle with the ongoing supply chain, labor shortage, and consumer demand.
According to data released Wednesday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures what consumers pay for goods and services such as energy and food costs, rose 0.9% in October, a sharp acceleration from September’s 0.4% monthly rise and the same pace as June 2021’s 0.9% reported index. Economists were expecting prices to rise 0.6% in October.
Price increases were wide-ranged, especially in housing and grocery store that saw prices hitting the middle and working classes the hardest. Energy prices increased 4.8% last month and were up 30% over the past year. The October increase was primarily the result of a 6.1% rise in the cost of gasoline. Food prices, meanwhile, edged up 0.9% last month as the food at home category saw a 1% increase. All food prices are up 5.3% year over year.
Year over year, consumer prices soared 6.2% in October, higher than September’s 5.4% year-over-year rate. It was the fastest 12-month rise in consumer inflation since November 1990. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones anticipated a 5.9% year-over-year spike in October
It’s also the fifth straight month in which inflation surged more than 5 percent, year over year, under President Biden.
Core prices, excluding food and energy, increased 0.6% month over month and climbed 4.6% from a year earlier, higher than September’s 4% annual rise. Economists were expecting increases of 0.4% and 4.3%, respectively.
In a statement following the October CPI report, Biden said addressing the rising inflation is a top priority for him, and is committed to “reversing” the surging consumer prices. But, Biden sought to focus most of the blame on only one of the four key indexes — energy prices, not the supply chain crisis contributing to the price surge as the cause of inflation.
“Inflation hurts Americans’ pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me,” Biden said.
Biden pushed Congress to quickly pass his massive $1.75 trillion social welfare spending package, claiming it would be key to “ease inflationary pressures.” But, the statement downplays concerns that his spending plan will exacerbate inflation and the previous massive unnecessary government stimulus attributed to the mess.
“It is important that Congress pass my Build Back Better plan, which is fully paid for and does not add to the debt, and will get more Americans working by reducing the cost of child care and elder care, and help directly lower costs for American families by providing more affordable health coverage and prescription drugs — alongside cutting taxes for 50 million Americans including for most families with children,” Biden said in the statement.
The president also falsely declared that under his presidency, “Jobs are up, [and] wages are up,” and the economy “is in much better shape today than it was a year ago.”
However, a separate report from the Labor Bureau also released Wednesday shows that real average hourly earnings decreased 0.5% from September to October despite a pay increase to fill the labor shortage. The result combines the increase in average hourly earnings with October’s surging 0.9% consumer prices data. Based on this, workers received a 0.5% reduction in hourly pay and a 0.9% reduction weekly.
Republicans have blasted Biden’s inflation crisis throughout the year — and those attacks intensified following Wednesday’s report. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has repeatedly urged Biden to acknowledge the surging inflation hitting Americans and answer for the growing crisis the president largely ignored.
“Every month of Biden’s presidency, inflation has raged higher, and prices have increased for hardworking families. His answer? More reckless spending. Gas prices are through the roof, forcing families on low and fixed-income, like mine growing up, to make the impossible choice of either putting a few gallons in the tank or more food on the table,” Scott said.
“When it comes to helping working American families, President Biden and Democrats in Washington have flown right past sheer incompetence and decided to dive headfirst into purposeful destruction. You need to look no further than today’s dismal CPI report to see that’s true,” Scott added.
Tuesday’s Producer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that prices paid to producers jumped by 8.6% in October compared to last year, representing the fastest rise in data extending back to 2010.