The Federal Reserve’s go-to barometer of inflation soared in October to the fastest annual pace of price increases in 31-years, data from the Commerce Department showed Wednesday.
The personal consumption expenditure price index rose five percent compared with October 2020, an acceleration from the 4.4 percent annual gain recorded in September. Compared with the prior month, prices rose 0.6 percent, the biggest monthly jump since 2008.
Core PCE inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel categories, rose 4.1 percent annually, also the fastest pace since November 1990. For the month, it rose 0.4 percent. That is lower than the levels hit in April, May, and June of this year, which were the highest since 2001.
The personal consumption expenditure price index is the Commerce Department’s metric for tracking the change in prices of goods and services purchased by consumers throughout the economy. It resembles the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index but tracks a broader set of goods and services and adjusts for consumers switching between products as prices change. The Federal Reserve tracks it closely and measures its goal of an average of two percent inflation over time against PCE inflation.
The most recent CPI showed prices rising 6.2 percent year-over-year, also a 31-year high.
Wednesday’s PCE inflation signals that inflation is not fading but continues to accelerate, defying the predictions of Fed and Biden administration officials that high prices would prove transitory.