Prices for just about everything continued to surge in the U.S. in October, with inflation increasing year-over-year more than it has in 30 years.
The consumer price index, which measures changes in how much Americans pay for certain goods and services, rose 0.9% in October, the Labor Department reported Wednesday, driven largely by increases in energy, shelter and food, among other categories. Year-over-year, prices increased 6.2% from a year ago, the most since December 1990.
It was more than many economists had anticipated, and means everyday Americans are falling even further behind: A separate Labor Department report found real wages after inflation fell 0.5% from September to October and 1.2% from a year ago.
"Inflation hurts Americans' pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me," President Joe Biden said in a statement, adding that he is asking the "National Economic Council to pursue means to try to further reduce these costs."
Prices are rising due to ongoing supply chain problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing demand, says Dawit Kebede, senior economist at the Credit Union National Association, although there are different reasons for spikes in different categories. Used car prices, for example, are increasing due to computer chip shortages and transportation issues, Kebede said.
Meanwhile, prices for just a handful of categories, including airfare and alcohol, fell last month.
The Federal Reserve said recently that inflation is still transitory. But households continue to pay more for homes, cars, food and energy right now.
There is some help: Many families with children are receiving monthly child tax credit payments, which can help offset some of the price increases.