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Inflation has reached its highest point in 30 years. Why are prices so high?

Price of goods and services — other than food and energy — rose again in October

A young customer looks at a Halloween mask at a Party City store in Miami.
A young customer looks at a Halloween mask at a Party City store on Oct. 6, 2021, in Miami. Prices for U.S. consumers jumped 6.2% in October compared with a year earlier as surging costs for food, gas and housing left Americans grappling with the highest inflation rate since 1990.
Marta Lavandier, Associated Press

Inflation has reached its highest point in 30 years, according to new data from the Consumer Price Index.

  • The data found the price of goods and services, which excludes food and energy, jumped 0.6% in October.
  • The main CPI, which includes all items, jumped 0.9%.
  • Per Axios, experts expected the headline CPI to jump 0.5%.

Overall, consumer prices surged 6.2% from October 2020, which is the largest surge since December 1990, according to CNBC.

  • “Within the food category, meat, poultry, fish and eggs collectively rose 1.7% for the month and 11.9% year over year,” CNBC reports.

Robert Frick, the corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union, wrote in a statement that the jump was bigger than experts expected, per Axios

  • “We expected inflation would get worse before it got better, but not this much worse. Particularly painful is the increase in food prices as we approach the holidays, and the rise in energy prices as we plan to travel more to family get-togethers,” Frick wrote, according to Axios.

Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, said inflation is clearly getting worse, according to CNBC.

  • “Inflation is clearly getting worse before it gets better, while the significant rise in shelter prices is adding to concerning evidence of a broadening in inflation pressures,” she said, per CNBC.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last week that inflation may last until 2022 and won’t dip until late 2022. Supply chain issues will continue to lead to high prices.

  • “Our baseline expectation is that supply bottlenecks and shortages will persist well into next year and elevated inflation as well,” Powell said, per Fox Business. “And that, as the pandemic subsides, supply chain bottlenecks will abate and job growth will move back up. And as that happens, inflation will decline from today’s elevated levels.”