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September 01, 2020 1:20pm
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Wholesale inflation unexpectedly accelerates to highest level since September

The Labor Department on Thursday released the closely watched producer price index, revealing just how hot wholesale inflation was running in February.

Inflation at the wholesale level rose much more than expected in February, underscoring the challenge of taming price pressures within the economy. 

The Labor Department said Thursday that its producer price index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level before it reaches consumers, surged 0.6% in February from the previous month. On an annual basis, prices remain up 1.6% – the highest level since September 2023.

Those figures are both higher than the 0.3% monthly gain and the 1.1% annual figure predicted by LSEG economists.

In another sign that points to the stickiness of high inflation, core prices — which exclude the more volatile measurements of food and energy — jumped 0.3% for the month. That is higher than the 0.2% estimate, although it is below the 0.5% reading recorded last month. 

The figure was up 2% on a 12-month basis, unchanged from January.

The data comes two days after the Labor Department said the more closely watched consumer price index, which measures the prices paid directly by consumers, rose 0.4% in February from the previous month and 3.2% from the same time last year, faster than economists anticipated.  

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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