Politics

Key Inflation Indicator Remains Sky-High In Another Worrying Sign For Businesses

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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The prices faced by producers rose by 8.7% year-on-year in August as inflation continues to challenge businesses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

While down from the near-record highs of 11.3% in June, the current price increases were over 4 times the typical rates — between 1 and 3% annually — seen in 2019 and 2020, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures the prices suppliers charge businesses and other customers. These elevated rates mirror Tuesday’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), which pegged inflation at 8.3%, according to the BLS. (RELATED: Food Prices Hit 40-Year High, Keep Breaking Records Every Month)

A significant component of the decrease was accounted for by a 5.2% decline in energy costs, according to the BLS. Mirroring July’s results, the index for foods and all goods less food and energy rose by 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

The index for all products other than foods, energy and trade services rose by 5.6% year-over-year,  less than the 5.8% posted in July, according to the BLS. The price for unprocessed goods was still incredibly elevated, at 36.1%, more than July’s value of 30.4%, as a spike in the price of natural gas kept prices up.

The Biden administration has been taking a victory lap on economic conditions, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claiming the economy had undergone one of the fastest recoveries in modern history. President Joe Biden claimed that the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act had helped to combat inflation “at the kitchen table,” in a Tuesday speech at the White House.

Simultaneously, the BLS’ monthly CPI report placed inflation at 8.3%, and found that food prices had increased 13.5% annually. Rent and electricity were also up, 6.7% and 15.8% respectively.

Increased rent prices have put pressure on families in particular, with the average cost of a single family rental home up about 13.4% this year, according to CNBC. At a median cost of $2,495 per month, families who might otherwise save to purchase a house are being priced out of home ownership, CNBC reported.

Gas prices also remained incredibly elevated, despite having fallen 12.2% month-on-month, and were still up 25.6% compared to the same time last year, the BLS reported.

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