US consumer prices soared 6.2% in past year, most since 1990

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FILE – Fuel trucks line up in front of storage tanks at the North Jiddah bulk plant, an Aramco oil facility, in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on March 21, 2021. OPEC and allied oil-producing countries will decide on output levels Thursday Nov. 4 2021, with President Joe Biden urging alliance members Saudi Arabia and Russia to increase production and lower U.S. gasoline prices at the pump — so far to no avail. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.

The year-over-year increase in the consumer price index exceeded the 5.4% rise in September, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. From September to October, prices jumped 0.9%, the highest month-over-month increase since June.

Inflation is eroding the strong gains in wages and salaries that have flowed to America’s workers in recent months, creating political headaches for the Biden administration and congressional Democrats and intensifying pressure on the Federal Reserve as it considers how fast to withdraw its efforts to boost the economy.

Job gains and pay raises have been much healthier during the pandemic recovery than they were after the Great Recession roughly a decade ago. But in contrast to the years that followed that downturn, inflation is now accelerating and diminishing Americans’ confidence in the economy, surveys have found.

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