Prices of goods jumped a record 2.4 percent in February

Supplier prices for goods rose 2.4 percent in February, the biggest jump since data for the metric was first calculated more than a decade ago.

Most of the increase was due to a spike in energy prices, according to the Labor Department, which noted a 14.8 percent rise in the index for gasoline. Disregarding food and energy, supplier prices for goods rose 0.7 percent.

The overall producer-price index, which includes both goods and services, was up 0.8 percent in February, leveling off slightly from a 1.2 percent increase in January. The index has risen 10 percent over the past year.

The advances come as commodity markets continue to react to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as new coronavirus lockdowns announced in China. Economists and lawmakers have expressed concern over historically high inflation, spurred on by pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions and high demand.

Some economists have also pointed to the large federal stimulus packages as a cause of inflation, but Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has largely rejected that idea.

“Inflation is a matter of demand, and it's certainly true that the American Rescue Plan put money in people's pockets, helped them meet expenses that they had, and contributed to strong demand in the U.S. economy,” Yellen told lawmakers in December, referring to the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed last year.

“But if you look at the amount of inflation that we have and its causes, [the stimulus bill] is, at most, a small contributor,” she said.

The producer-price index measures inflation from the perspective of sellers, looking at the input prices that companies pay to produce their own goods and services.

The consumer-price index, which is a more direct gauge of the inflation experienced by consumers, hit a 40-year high of 7.9 percent in February, the Labor Department announced last week.

The Federal Reserve is expected to increase interest rates in a bid to temper inflation and rein in overall demand as early as this week.

Not all supplier goods saw price increases in February, according to the Labor Department’s numbers. While prices for diesel, electricity, automobiles, jet fuel and dairy products all saw upward movement, indices for vegetables decreased 9.4 percent, with prices for beef and sheet metal also leveling off.

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