Prices consumers pay for a wide variety of goods and services rose more than expected in September as inflation pressures continued to weigh on the U.S. economy.
The consumer price index for the month increased 0.4% for the month, more than the 0.3% Dow Jones estimate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On a 12-month basis, so-called headline inflation was up 8.2%, off its peak around 9% in June but still hovering near the highest levels since the early 1980s.
Excluding volatile food and energy prices, core CPI accelerated 0.6% against the Dow Jones estimate for a 0.4% increase. Core inflation was up 6.6% from a year ago.
The report rattled financial markets, with stock market futures plunging and Treasury yields moving up.
Another large jump in food prices boosted the headline number. The food index rose 0.8% for the month, the same as August, and was up 11.2% from a year ago.
That increase helped offset a 2.1% decline in energy prices that included a 4.9% drop in gasoline. Energy prices have moved higher in October, with the price of regular gasoline at the pump nearly 20 cents higher than a month ago, according to AAA.
Closely watched shelter costs, which make up about one-third of CPI, rose 0.7% and are up 6.6% from a year ago. Transportation services also showed a big bump, increasing 1.9% on the month and 14.6% on an annual basis. Medical care costs rose 1% in September.
The rising costs meant more bad news for workers, whose average hourly earnings declined 0.1% for the month on an inflation-adjusted basis and are off 3% from a year ago, according to a separate BLS release.
Inflation is rising despite aggressive Federal Reserve efforts to get price increases under control.
The central bank has raised benchmark interest rates 3 full percentage points since March. Thursday’s CPI data likely cements a fourth consecutive 0.75 percentage point hike when the Fed next meets Nov. 1-2, with traders assigning a 98% chance of that move.
The chances of a fifth straight hike three-quarter point hike also are rising, with futures pricing in a 62% probability following the inflation data.
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