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U.S. Produce Prices Up 8.3% in August From a Year Earlier

September 10, 2021by Paul Wiseman, AP Economics Writer
Mid-sized pickup trucks and full-size vans are seen in a parking lot outside a General Motors assembly plant where they are produced in Wentzville, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation at the wholesale level climbed 8.3% last month from August 2020, the biggest annual gain since the Labor Department started calculating the 12-month number in 2010.

The Labor Department reported Friday that its producer price index — which measures inflationary pressures before they reach consumers — rose 0.7% last month after increasing 1% in both June and July.

Inflation has been stirring as the economy recovers from last year’s brief but intense coronavirus recession. Supply chain bottlenecks and a shortage of workers have pushed prices higher.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core producer prices rose 0.6% from July and 6.7% from a year earlier. Food prices were up 2.9% last month after falling in July.

The economy’s brisk recovery appears to have hit a late summer lull as COVID-19’s highly contagious delta variant discourages Americans from shopping in stores or going out to restaurants. Retail sales dropped in August, and employers added just 235,000 jobs last month, a third of what economists were expecting, and a sharp drop from June and July, when about 1 million jobs were added each month. 

The Labor Department’s report on August consumer prices comes out Tuesday. Economists expect them to have moderated slightly from July’s 5.4% annual uptick, according to a survey by the data firm FactSet. 

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