Prices at the wholesale level surged by a record 9.7% for all of 2021, setting an annual record and providing further evidence that inflation is still present at all levels of the U.S. economy.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that its producer price index, which measures inflation before it reaches consumers, did slow on a monthly basis, rising just 0.2% in December compared with November, when prices had shot up 1%.
The 12-month increase in wholesale inflation of 9.7% was also lower than a revised 9.8% increase for the 12 months ending in November. However, the government uses the December to December change for the yearly increase and on that basis the 9.7% rise was the fastest annual jump on record, far above the 0.8% increase in 2020 and the 1.4% rise in 2019.
Core inflation at the wholesale level, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.5% on a monthly basis in December, down from a 0.9% gain in November. Core prices rose 8.3% during the 12 months ending in December.
The slowdown in overall inflation at the wholesale level was attributed to a big 3.3% fall in energy prices and a smaller 0.6% dip in food costs.
Thursday’s report came a day after the government reported that consumer inflation jumped 7% in December from a year earlier, the highest such inflation rate since 1982.