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Producer Inflation Makes Biggest Jump in a Year in Potential Warning Sign for Future Economy

by Will Kessler

 

A measure of wholesale inflation that tracks prices before they reach consumers surged to its fastest annual rate since April 2023, according to new data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The producer price index (PPI) rose 0.5 percent in April, totaling a 2.2 percent annual rate, far higher than estimates that the index would rise 0.3 percent in the month, according to the BLS. The report adds to fears that inflation is once again surging following the consumer price index jumping to 3.5 percent in March, up from 3.2 percent in February and far from the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target.

DCNF-logoGrowth in the price of demand services led the increase, rising 0.6 percent for the month while the price of final demand goods rose 0.4 percent, according to the BLS. Core PPI, which excludes the volatile categories of food and energy, also had its biggest increase since April 2023, rising 0.4 percent for the month and 3.4 percent for the year.

Higher inflation could push back the possibility of a rate cut from the Federal Reserve even further, with a majority of market watchers not predicting a cut until the Fed’s September meeting, according to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool. The Fed has set its federal funds rate to a range of 5.25 percent and 5.50 percent, the highest level in 23 years, in response to persistently high inflation.

Around 80 percent of American voters listed inflation as one of their top three financial stressors in a recent poll conducted by the Financial Times and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, meaning persistent inflation could severely affect President Joe Biden’s reelection chances. Nearly half of the voters surveyed believed that Biden’s policies had hurt the economy.

Economic growth slowed in the first quarter of 2024 to just 1.6 percent. Slow growth coupled with high inflation has spawned fears that the economy is entering a period of stagflation similar to the one that wreaked havoc on American consumers during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Biden has sought to blame recent elevated inflation on corporate greed, alleging that companies are capitalizing on the current economy by rapidly marking up prices. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco recently released a report disproving Biden’s claims by showing that corporate markups over the last few years have tracked similarly to other periods of economic recovery when inflation was not as elevated.

The CPI for inflation in April is expected to be released Wednesday, with analysts projecting the year-over-year rate to tick down slightly to 3.4 percent, according to Market Insider.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Will Kessler is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Factory Worker” by Sam Moghadam Khamseh.

 

 


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