Inflation surges by most in 13 years as energy prices spike

Consumer index price index rose 5.4% year over year in September

U.S. consumer prices last month accelerated at their fastest annual pace in 13 years as energy prices surged.  

The consumer index price index rose 5.4% year over year in September, according to the Labor Department, matching the July reading for the hottest print since 2008. Prices increased 0.4% month over month. 

Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting prices to rise 5.3% annually and 0.3% in September. 

"Consumer prices continue to rise, particularly as demand driven by people returning to post-vaccination life outstrips supply that is increasingly constrained by logistics and labor shortages," said Brian Crosby, managing partner at Traub Capital Partners. "We see it every day." 

Energy prices climbed 1.3% in September and are now up 24.8% over the past year. 

Food prices, meanwhile, jumped 0.9% last month and are now up 4.6% annually. Prices for  meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, have climbed 10.5% this year while beef prices are up 17.6%. 

Core prices, which exclude food and energy, ticked up 0.2% in September and 4% annually, matching analysts' expectations.  


The report puts next month's Federal Reserve meeting in focus after the central bank said in September that it could soon begin to taper its asset purchases, but that rate hikes were farther out on the horizon. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said the recent bout of inflation is "transitory" and that price pressures will ease over time as supply chain bottlenecks caused by COVID-19 are alleviated. However, that narrative has been challenged by some Fed members. 

"You’ll notice I brought a prop to the lectern. It’s a jar with the word "transitory" written on it," Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, a voting Federal Open Market Committee member, told the Peterson Institute of International Economics on Tuesday. "This has become a swear word to my staff and me over the past few months. Say ‘transitory’ and you have to put a dollar in the jar."